A year ago, the 100-acre, Neknampur lake in Hyderabad near Taramati Baradari remained neglected and faced an imminent threat of encroachment. Debris and garbage were dumped surrounding the lake, choking the earlier pristine lake.
However, before the lake met the fate of several other water bodies in the city, which were either encroached or polluted, local residents and school children from the neighbouring areas joined hands to revive the lake.
After the joint cause, the garbage dump zone now is full of life with various species of birds and butterflies, informed Madhulika founder of Dhruvansh, an NGO involved in the conservation of lakes and the environment.
It was in June 2016 that Dhruvansh spread awareness about the pollution and the need for the lake to be conserved. âMany school students felt the need to clear the garbage and made weekly trips to oversee the maintenance of the lake. Not just the students, residents too joined us in keeping a vigil over the debris being dumped into the lake,â Madhulika said.
She added that not just the residents or the students, even the government helped in restoring the lake.
âThe Collector had instructed authorities to clear the debris which was dumped into the lake and also gave instructions to local Sarpanch to see that the residents donât dump garbage. We havenât fully restored the lake. It is a continuous effort. But it is a success nevertheless. The success of this campaign was in engaging the future generation to make them realise the importance and necessity to conserve the environment,â Madhulika told TNM.
To sustain the conservation campaign, each school student was asked to plant saplings and name them. It was then the responsibility of the student to take care of his sapling by watering them regularly. This idea led to the planting of nearly 5,000 saplings.
In a bid to attract children to participate in the plantation and the lake restoration campaign. Children, who actively participated in the campaign, were given awards and given wristbands with âLake Warriorâ inscribed on them. Due to this competition amongst children to earn the band, many children actively took part in the campaign.
The idea of owning the lake
According to Madhulika, the campaign of the lake restoration succeeded because of involving students and making the students understand that it is was their job to take care of the lake without waiting for government intervention.