Eight tonnes of waste cleared in Varanasi by ‘Mission Gange’ team

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Unique drive has exceeded the expectations we set out at start: Sunil Bhaskaran

Varanasi/Jamshedpur: With the team ‘Mission Gange’ moving into the final week of the cleaning and awareness drive, over 13,000 school students from 15 schools in Varanasi interacted with the Mission Gange team who educated them on waste management and the need to keep our environment clean. In terms of number of local students participating in the drive, this is a new high for the mission.

Varanasi was the sixth stopover for team Mission Gange, after covering Haridwar, Bijnor, Farrukhabad, Kanpur and Prayagraj since its commencement on October 5, 2018.

In Varanasi, the team with the help of 1,000 volunteers, collected eight tonnes of waste at Assi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat and Raj Ghat between October 23rd and 25th. The team also had interactions with more than 5000 locals educating them and spreading awareness about cleaning the pious river Ganga. The team will be moving to the seventh stop at Buxar, Bihar where they will spend one day to continue the cleaning and awareness drive.

‘Mission Gange’ is a joint initiative of Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to raise awareness about waste management and Ganga cleanliness through a month-long rafting expedition. The expedition, covering 1,500 kms of the Ganges and encompassing eight major towns including Haridwar, Bijnor, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, and Buxar, will conclude in Patna on October 30, 2018. The 40-member team from Tata Steel is led by Ms. Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to scale Mount Everest and Chief of TSAF.

Joining the Mission team at Varanasi, Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel and Chairman, TSAF said, “The outcome of this unique drive has exceeded the expectations we set out at the start. The work done by team members from TSAF with NMCG is truly remarkable. They have engaged thousands of school students and volunteers from the local communities which is commendable. The lessons learnt from this expedition will help them in their personal and professional lives.”

“On behalf of our team, I would also like to thank Manoj Khare, DFO Varanasi, Rachit Andley, NMCG, Sunil Kumar Singj, RTI Officer and Pradeep Sarkar, SPMG for the generous support provided at Varanasi”, said expedition leader Bachendri Pal.

Over 6,000 volunteers and community members also joined hands with the Mission Gange team at Varanasi.

At Assi Ghat, the team participated in nukkad natak, classical dance, and interacted with over 1,000 local community members and performed the Ganga aarti at Dashaswamedh Ghat. A Mission Gange painting was also done at Assi Ghat as a token of appreciation for support by the local community and as a reminder to continue the good work.

Earlier this month, the team had camped at Haridwar, Bijnor, Farrukhabad, Kanpur and Prayagraj to clean the River Ganga and spread awareness.

Prior to the expedition kickoff, Mission Gange team met and interacted with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 4, 2018 in New Delhi.

TSAF has brought together a diverse and industrious team of 40 individuals (20 women and 20 men) including eight mountaineers (Bachendri Pal, Premlata Agarwal, Hemant Gupta, R S Pal, Chetna Sahoo, Binita Soren, Poonam Rana, Swarnlata Dalai), who have summited Mt. Everest, and 23 Tata Steel employees. Besides, professionals from backgrounds as diverse as engineering, environmentalists, science etc. are part of the expedition team that is prepared to meet all the challenges that they may encounter during the expedition.

The team, during its stay in various towns along the course, will carry out cleanliness drives at Ghats and surrounding areas, visit schools and institutions to create awareness on waste management, pollution in Ganga and climate change.

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