“What We Do”
* Jal Chaupal: This is a public awareness program. Ground water is getting depleted at a fast rate in many parts of India. In this program we organize meeting with villagers, RWAs, students, and educate them about water conservation. Currently, we are doing many such awareness drives in Delhi-NCR. However, many of our volunteers have organized this all over India.
- School Programs/Workshop: Students should be aware of environmental protection and energy conservation. Our school programs focus on interactivity and intricate details. We also use case studies and problem solving so that students are encouraged to think on the various issues and also be encouraged to come out with solutions. We are focusing on youth of the villages and students particularly.
- Jan Samadhan(Consultation) – S.A.F.E. helps people in environmental issues. People contact us either directly or on the basis of references. We specialize in troubleshooting, real time problem solving. We advise people on issues of environment, agriculture, education, health and corruption. This has helped a lot of people.
- Plantation drive: Plantation is one very important aspect of environmental conservation campaign.S.A.F.E.stresses on growing native plants. About a thousand plants are planted every year by S.A.F.E, in Delhi NCR with the support from volunteers/groups. We also supervise volunteer groups and give them guidance for a sustainable plan to plant and grow trees.
*Ground Water Depletion (DELHI-NCR): We have worked enormously for the conservation of water.
During the water awareness campaign in the year 2012-13, it was realized that the amount of water a builder wastes in Noida and Greater Noida in just one day is equal to water used by a village of atleast10000–12000 peoples in one entire year. It was observed that most of the builders in Noida, Gr. Noida and Delhi NCR area extracted fresh ground water for their construction business purposes. They then release their unused /untreated water into public drains which can be highly toxic and dangerous for the welfare of the environment and its citizens.
This practice was leading to depletion of ground water at a fast rate. S.A.F.E members approached many departments to stop wastage of groundwater including CGWB as well most of the efforts went into vain. Finally we approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the efforts bore result. Groundwater extraction was banned by NGT on our Petition. Thus millions of liters of groundwater were saved that was being wasted daily on the name of De-water. Now, about 500 under construction real estate sites are using treated water of Sewage treatment plant (STP). STP Water is being purchased from the local authority. The authority has also received revenue in crores.
*Work for Pond rejuvenation:There is an urgent need to maintain the water level of the ponds in India. There is great threat to the existence of ponds by constant encroachment and pollution. In most of the places it is seen that people are no longer emotionally attached to ponds as used to be the case in earlier times. To spread more awareness on the necessity of ponds and its sustenance, we have started many programs. Recently we are working rejuvenation of pond in Greater Noida in collaboration with other NGOs/forums.
* Rain water harvesting:Rain water harvesting (RWH) implementation is very poor in many Indian cities. We have started our campaign to create mass awareness for RWH and we have focused on Delhi Metro Rail in our first phase. We found there is no proper RWH implemented in Metro Stations, tracks and depots. We are working in close connection with the DMRC to implement the same.
Illegal Packaged water plants: Illegal bottled (Packaged) water plants are found in many places. Most of these plants do not use standard and safe practices, due to which ground water level is depleting, and working against the health of the people. So control on illegal packaged water is necessary. We have been working for its control for several years. Till now, we have been able to successfully contain 30 such illegal plants in Noida, Gr. Noida.
* Detergents waste issue: Water sources are constantly being polluted due to some detergents being used at homes particularly to wash cloths and vehicles. The detergent waste is high in phosphate, which leads to water pollution. There is an urgent need to reduce the use of phosphate in detergent products. There is no proper permissible standard that has been set for phosphate levels in detergents.Internationally, phosphate levels are controlled and kept at low levels. In India we are fighting for such policies to curb phosphate levels.
*Air pollution due to burning in the open: Municipal solid waste burning is a major cause of air pollution in Delhi-NCR.Although this is banned across the country, people are still unaware and use burning to dispose garbage easily.We monitor this with a network of keen volunteers who keep us updatedfrom time to time. We then present this information to concerned departments to stop the fire to minimize air pollution.
*Crop burning Control: Since 2012-13 we have started work on air pollution. Crop/agriculture residue burning in neighboring states of Delhi is one of the major causes of air pollution which also affects soil. SAFE members have been working in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to create more awareness, minimize burning. In last we have move to National Green Tribunal (NGT). Thus, because of some effort a ban on crop burning in these four states was introduced in the year 2015 by NGT. Now farmers have got subsidies to manage the crop residue and awareness generated has reduced air pollution and increased crop production. In every state (Punjab, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan) one model district is being worked upon which will become a crop burning free district. District level committee has been created in all the districts of these four states which will control crop burning. Given the severity of this issue, the central government has made provision of subsidy on machinery for it also in the budget (2018). However, more support needs to be provided to farmers for crop residue management.
* Recycling of Old & Used Tyres: Old & used tyres are being disposed in large quantities in India as scrap. This scrap is mostly burnt polluting the air as well as soil. Therefore, there is a need to make a policy about this by the central government and manufacturers to ensure reuse of the old tyres, recycle for new tyres manufacturing.
- River Rejunivation:
*Ganga pollution control: Rivers of the country are continuously dying, therefore it is very necessary to save them. We are committed to free our rivers from pollution. We have started our work on river Ganga, Yamuna, Hindan.
S.A.F.E. filed a petition against Simbhavali Sugar Mill (Hapur, UP) in NGT as the mill was causing pollution. Due to our intervention, they were asked to pay a fine of Rs 5 crores and an order was provided to stop the pollution.
S.A.F.E. has also done a lot of work against river mining. When after repeated complaining about mining along river Ganga, mining did not stop in Uttarakhand, SAFE filed a lawsuit in the National Green Tribunal, after which mining was banned (in a particular area) in 2017.
HindanBachaoAbhiyan: Hindan,Kali & Krishna are one of the most polluted rivers of Western UP. This is also the cause of many waterborne diseaseincluding major illnesses likecancer due to heavy load of untreated industrial effluents containing excess BOD, COD, ZERO Dissolved Oxygen, heavy metal, pesticides from agricultural runoff and Persist organic pollutantsnear villages situated close to flood plains. We are working for control of these hazardous pollutants and their impact on health. We launched the Hindan Kali & Krishna BachaoAbhiyan.Our work provoked the district authority to include S.A.F.E. as a member of “Hindan BachaoSamiti” at district level.
* Stone Crushers at Hindan river bank:S.A.F.E.has raised the issue about unauthorized stone crushers situated on the banks of Hindan River with authorities at different levels and with the Pollution Control Boards in Noida / Ghaziabad about the air pollution that has been caused in the Hindan River destroying flora and fauna in theriver flood plains.In addition to this, S.A.F.E. is also working in Delhi NCR where Yamuna River has been polluted. The polluting industries are being closely monitored and representations are being made to the concerned departments.
*Ban on Beach Camp (Rishikesh,Uttrakhand):Camps are being set up on the banks of Holy Ganga at Rishikesh for the last couple of years for river rafting in about 50 kilometers stretch of river. Thereby affecting the environment and local ecology there. There was also a violation of environment laws and rules.
Beach camps should be allowed only in flood plainsthat too after doing a thorough wildlife and environment impact study. Due to our efforts, there was a ban on the operation of beach camps on the flood plains and only a few camps were allowed.Now there is no disturbance in the wildlife corridor on that side and the pollution as well has reduced considerably.
*EC of Bridge (Rivers):S.A.F.E. filed a petition which demanded the government to take Environmental Clearance (EC) for construction of bridge at Yamuna River in Delhi. So far, taking Environmental clearance for construction of bridge over river was not a requirement in the country. But with S.A.F.E.’s efforts, a law stating so has been formed. The Environment clearance for bridge construction is necessary to reduce the impact on the river due to the construction of the bridge.
We are also demanding for environmentclearancesto be obtained river bridges as well.Because bridgesdo have some negative impact on river ecology. We have discussed our issue with concerned departments but not much action was taken. Finally, we had to move the National Green Tribunal.
One such case was about our demand for environmental clearance should be taken for the Signature Bridge being built on Yamuna in Delhi. The NGT considered our issue and ordered that environment clearance should be taken for Signature Bridge.
*Hasanpur Wetland, natural lake: Hasanpur Lake which is situated at Hapur district (UP) is spread across more than 300 acres of land. This lake is constantly getting polluted as the place around it is being allotted to small industries and builders. Thereby, causing a great threat to the existence of the lake. A road has also been constructed over the lake. This lake is the biggest lake in Delhi-NCR but no policy has been formulated for its conservation. S.A.F.E. has conducted a survey in this area, collected information using Right to Information (RTI), and has written letters to government which has brought some improvement in the situation.More work is going on for conservation of this wetland.
*Surajpur Wetland: This wetland has been destroyed to make eco-park. Its natural ecology was being destroyed to construct artificial park and which was causing harm to the wetland and forest around it. For this thousands of trees were cut and some were even cut illegally. We raised this issue and complaint about illegal felling of trees to the Government and Forest Department. The guilty were fined for cutting trees which lay at the periphery just outside the wetland. A petition has been filed in NGT for protecting the trees which lie inside the proposed eco-park area. Additionally, in the petition filed by S.A.F.E., NGT has passed an order which restricts any construction in the wetland which has benefited the wetland profusely.
*Dhanori Wetland: This wetland situated in Delhi-NCR is the largest habitat for Sarus birds where hundreds of birds can be seen together at a time. But this wetland was shrinking and was being neglected by Development Authority which was planning to construct a road in the middle. S.A.F.E. member and some other nature activists appealed to the government that this wetland should be preserved. After much persuasions and efforts, the environmental development authority and Forest Department made a plan to conserve it. Due to this wetland, the water table in the adjacent area will also be maintained. Our work is going on for conservation of this wetland. And now local authority is seriously working for protection of this important wetland.
- Municipal Solid Waste management: Solid waste Management i.e.Garbage management is a matter of great concern currently in India, especially where we are producing more than 115000 tons of plastic waste every year. Mostof the garbage is being burned in open fire and there is tremendous scope to treat and dispose it safely. In big cities, mountains of garbage have accumulated. Therefore S.A.F.E. is working to stop this malpractice of burning waste. As soon as we receive information about burning of garbage, S.A.F.E. immediately lodges complain to the concerned department.
In addition to this, in the village Bhanauta, Greater Noida, when the authority was dumping waste illegally, S.A.F.E. took up this issue at the highest level, after which the illegal dumping stopped. Due to this dumping, people from nearby villages were getting sick. Apart from this, efforts are being made to quicken the action for getting the proposed site for the disposal of Noida, Gr. Noida and Dadri cities. We are also doing awareness programs to the RWAs and villagers for disposal/composting of garbage.
- Green Metro Projects: Metro Projects are increasing rapidly in the country, which undoubtedly benefit the environment and the people of the country. Metro Projects can be made more environment-friendly during construction and post construction phase. We should not forget that during the construction of the Metro project the environment is affected. Trees are cut, water is drained, dust is generated etc. Metro projects are similar to any other building construction project and therefore sufficient action needs to be taken simultaneously to protect the surrounding environment.
S.A.F.E. has suggested environmental clearances (EC) for Metro Projects. We have been demanding this from the authorities for quiet a long time.Due our continuous efforts, the local authorities have now asked for EC for the Noida-Greater Noida Metro Project because they are convinced that it is in the interest of the environment. It will be the first EC for any metro Project in India so this is a landmark achievement in favour of both the environment and developmental work. If this is made applicable to all Metro projects, then it benefits both the project and the environment.
- CSR Implementation: SAFE is also working with few environment friendly corporate companies for environmental protection. In collaboration with these companies, trees have been planted, toilets have been built and awareness programs have been done.
Organic Farming: Organic and Natural farming is a good method for agriculture and environment sustainability. For this, we do many awareness programs. Dozens of farmers have been trained through S.A.F.E.
- Climate Change: We are also working on the issues of Climate change impacting India. We constantly appeal to the concerned authorities for the proper implementation of the Climate Change plan.We are also appealing to the states for notifying and implementing State Climate Change plan. Some States don’t have a Climate Change plan and some states have not yet started their implementation.
- Training: Training is imparted to farmers, students, and teachers. Training is given to farmers regarding natural farming for agriculture and environment sustainability. We are also training students on how they can save the environment. We are also training teachers how they can educate the children about environment issues and importance. We are doing this program together with other expert organizations. The course gives students information about the environmental issues and laws of India.
- Noise Pollution:Noise pollution is a major problem in India and it has a serious impact on health.There are many reasons for noise pollution and mostly,vehicular pollution.People are not very aware of this. We are therefore working on awarenessabout this.We are constantly appealingto the concerned authoritiesto implement the law to curb noise pollution.Another focus area has been to create more awareness of the noise pollution caused by DJ (Disc Jockeys).
- Mobile Tower Radiation: People are very worried about the mobile tower radiation. People often complain about cancer due to the radiation of mobile towers. We are also working on this issue for control mobile tower radiation level. We take up complaints and pursue with local authorities.
- Pesticides and Fertilizers:Pesticides and fertilizers are being used in agriculture and in other places which are badly affecting the environment and health.Therefore, control over dangerous pesticides is necessary. The efforts of S.A.F.E.have led to a ban on those pesticides in India that are also banned in other countries due to its effect on the environment and on health. We are constantly liaisoning with governmental authorities.
S). Wildlife and Wild Lands Protection: Currently there is a threat to wildlife and their habitat.For this, we are constantly working in this area to protect it at many places.