Pollution, a term that is like omnipresent in our daily life, wherever we turn there is pollution–air, water, soil and whatnot. However, what do we actually do to solve this problem? In recent years, we have seen many environmentalists–both known as well as the unknown. When Greta Thunberg said “How Dare you” world cheered for her and she covered the front-page for several days. Even the Indian newspapers and portals did not stand back in this rat race, but we forgot our own environmentalists who have been doing brilliant work in silence.
Some of the Indian environmentalists are Saalumarada Thimmakka, Sunderlal Bahuguna, Prabha Devi Jadav Payeng and many more. The list seems endless, and to this list of people, we have a very young plogger who ran into the hearts of millennials recently. You guessed it right, Ripu Daman Bevli–the man who introduced plogging in India.
News Aur Chai got an excellent opportunity to interact with the inspiring person and today, let’s have a look at the story of this inspirational plogger.
From a boy born and brought up in Delhi till his late teens to a man who has been all around Indian for almost 14 years, he has proved himself to be a true Indian citizen. An apt definition in his own words–”A boy who grew so fast only to realise he is still a boy”. The painful experiences of his childhood that have been engraved deep in his memory have made him a stronger person.
His hobbies are as enjoyable as the person himself. His simple funda in life is to try everything. Sounds simple know? Yet something we all fail to do.
Ripu shared an interesting stance from his life. He was the topper of his school and board but got expelled during his second year of college. However, later, he became the ‘Head of Students Council” in the same college.
Initially, he started with his plogging with his running group in Delhi. Later he moved to other parts of India like Bangalore, Bombay, Pune, Kolkata and other places.
During the early days of his mission, he didn’t knew about this ‘cool’ term plogging. It was later in 2017 during his journey to the mission of “Clean up other people’s litter“, he got to know. ”Erik Ahlstrom coined this term,” Ripu said.
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His genuine love for country and environment, kept him going in this journey. For him, plogging was just a progression from mere clean up to run and clean up.
It was just his passion and dream for a litter-free nation that made him plogging for 7 to 15 hours, without taking any break days and rest. He did not believe in preaching; instead, he believed in setting examples.
”People should question themselves and not blame others for dirty surrounding,” he said.
He further said that all those people who say its just plogging, they should try it once. It will make them understand the sheer fact; it is beyond that. It requires a lot of stamina, will power and an extreme amount of mental health to keep one going.
Despite not having proper sleep and health issues, he still manages to give time to people/organisations who approach him.
Ripu’s story for the past 14 years consists of plogging and inspiring people.
Being a marathon runner, he needed to maintain his physic and what better than early morning exercise through the capital city of India. Every day he would encounter litters all over, and people were cribbing about it. He started organising awareness events all over India, but then he wanted this to be taken to the next level and do something unprecedented in the world. A simple yet powerful message of ‘keep your surrounding litter-free‘ became his mission. So for a broad reach, he chose 50 cities to start with.
Taking inspiration from the words of Mahatma Gandhi — “Everyone needs to be their own scavenger,” — Ripu considers his life has come to a complete circle, as ‘Fit Indian’ and Government of India organised a plogging event on October 2nd.
Inspired by him, this event was organised across 62,000 locations and more than crore people participated. However, when asked about his inspiration, he gives a major credit to his upbringing, especially his mother. He says she has played a vital role in moulding and inspiring him.
Although ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission was a great success, he felt the need that it must be permutated to each household of India. The interaction with PM Narendra Modi and ‘Shahenshah of Bollywood‘ Amitabh Bachchan has only given him the much-needed boost to move ahead.
Ripu’s ‘plastic upvaas‘ is something that every citizen should get inspired from. Under this unique fast as he doesn’t consume anything wrapped in a single-use plastic wrapper.
Currently, R-Elan backs his mission of ‘R-Elan run to make India litter-free‘. In this mission, the collected PET bottles are sent to the company where they recycle it and convert it into ‘green gold fibre/fabric.’ Other non-recyclable plastics are used for making roads. Moreover, local municipalities and other waste management groups have also provided helping hands.
With his dream turning a reality, he hopes to collaborate with international brands in helping to convert this litters into something useful, in the near future.
Even though he had to face all sorts of reactions from people, his mission is finding its horizon after the honourable PM took the initiative to do plogging. In his starting days, it was quite challenging to make people get along, but his biggest challenge was to change the orthodox mentality that ‘cleaning is someone else responsibility.’
”Ragpickers aren’t the one who should be called KACHREWALE; actually, they are the SAFAIWALA as they clean our mess and we are the ones who create it.,” Ripu echoed PM Modi’s words.
”The idea of not creating litter must be in our DNA,” he added.
He has formulated three steps for litter-free surrounding:
1. Put your litter in a trash bin only
2. Pick litter from the road and put in the trash bin if you see.
3. If you don’t see a trash bin, take it home, segregate into wet and dry waste and give it to the municipality.
Well, if you guys thought that after the 50 chosen cities he might stop, then you were wrong. This is just the beginning, and there is a lot more to be done.
He has plans ready for the next 15 to 18 months with the support of the government (Sports Authority of India, Fit India). With this, he is expecting more people to join his noble cause. Moreover, he says that such activities should be made part of schools’ and colleges’ curriculum. ”In this way, we can create a generation with a routine of litter-free mentality,” he says.
“Never lose hope and self-belief. There are thousands of things that can push you down to your limits but always hope for the positive. In a country like India, where millennials are given with so much freedom, we should not forget our responsibility. Do something good for the nation, your family and most importantly yourself,” Ripu concluded.