One of the big environmental concerns of metropolitan cities is their lakes. Factors such as untreated sewage being dumped into local water bodies, irregular checks by the governing bodies and ignorance on part of the citizens can be held responsible for this. Ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, a Ganesh mandal in Sewri took up the job of cleaning the Mithi river of Mumbai, since the condition of the river has been deteriorating. The once clean water body has turned into a garbage and chemical dump, rendering the water useless. After several attempts of the state and even legal action, the condition of the river remains the same. Many government bodies and non-government organisations have carried out campaigns to clean the local water bodies with the help of volunteers. But the process is long and requires financial and managerial assistance on a big level.
In the cleaning of lakes, the first step is to rid them of weeds that choke the irrigation channels, clean the water of plastic and other physical waste and purify the water from chemical waste as well. Following that, garbage has to be disposed off in a particular manner or be recycled. This process requires a lot of equipment and man force. The amount of money that is required for these activities, after the government, can only be sourced from corporate houses. This can be done under their CSR wing. Recently, the Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited (NLCIL) organised a massive cleaning activity at Manimuktah river in Virudhachalam under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. The organisation also stressed on how it was the community’s responsibility to keep their surroundings clean.
However, in a report by Livemint, it was found that garbage disposal and waste management are among the least invested categories for CSR by companies. In the Swacch Bharat mission, waste management and garbage disposal are one of the key objectives. Cleaning of the local water bodies could be of great help in Maharashtra, especially with the upcoming Ganesh festival. Activities taking into account the civic issues is something the corporate houses cannot be directly involved in. They have to conduct it either through volunteer organisations or with the help of the civic authorities. This is where the problem arises and makes the corporates wary. The long process demands engagement with a lot of people on different levels.
Many cities depend on the lakes for the water supply, and if not kept in check, it will lead to dire consequences on the respective city. For these projects to be a success, it is necessary that the processes are made smoother and with greater participation from people and government, irrespective of the source of the money.
The CSR Journal Team