6 Sep 2017 - Protection of the environment is not just the responsibility of government or its various departments. Every single person around are equal stakeholders when it comes to maintaining the ecological balance. While most of us conveniently forget to our part or limit it to one or two days in an year, there are some people who have devoted their entire life to this cause. We have listed some of them here:
1. Vava Suresh
Vava Suresh is a conservationist based in Kerala, and mostly works on rescuing poisonous snakes which stray into human habitats. In his career spanning well over two decades Mr Suresh has saved 116 King cobras, considered the deadliest among snakes.
Other than saving snakes from coming into conflict with humans, Suresh is also involved in education people about snakes and the role they play in the ecosystem.
2. Dinesh Goswami
Dinesh Goswami is a factory worker from Saurashtra in Gujarat who also runs an NGO called Prakruti Nature Club. Goswami has been working towards saving whale sharks since 1997 and has, so far, rescued more than 500 of them.
It was a meeting with award winning director Mike Pandey who informed him about the marine creatures changed the life of Goswami. Today Goswami and his friend Dinesh Gohil are involved in rescuing all kind of creatures like dolphins, crocodiles and turtles.
3. Deepak Apte
Deepak Apte is a marine conservationist exploring marine life in various parts of Indian coast for the past 30 years. Deepak who is the Director of the Bombay Natural History Society has also devoted his time to study mangroves, which plays a key role in maintaining the ecological balance.
Mangroves are salt-tolerant, self-maintaining forest ecosystems of tropical and subtropical intertidal regions. They occur along sheltered shores, estuaries, tidal creeks, backwaters, salt marshes and coastal mudflats.
The mangroves also play a crucial role in holding coastal soil and silt, and preventing erosion. The total area of mangroves in India is about 6,740 sq. km, which is about 7 per cent of the world’s total area of mangroves.
4. Tanvi Vaidyanathan
Tanvi Vaidyanathan is a young marine scientist studying seahorses. "My work is on conserving seahorses.But in essence, I am trying to use seahorses as a case study to help conserve species that are caught by accident in fishing nets," she says.
In 2001, in India, seahorses were placed under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 that prohibits their catch and export. It is economically viable for the fishers to trade seahorses, which means that they continue to do so despite the ban. I am trying to look at how current policy measures impact the conservation status of the seahorse.
Currently, the PhD scholar is working with Project Seahorse, a group of people dedicated to marine conservation, and trying to ensure that the marine ecosystems are healthy and managed better. The main aim of Project Seahorse is to protect seahorses, and through seahorses, they support conservation of the entire marine ecosystem.
5. Vijay Nishant
Vijay Nishant, a resident of Bengaluru calls himself a 'Tree Doctor', because his line of work involves treating trees, taking care of them and bring them back to health. The urban conservationist has been involved in tree conservation efforts in Bengaluru for years now.
His Vruksha Foundation is also working towards quantifying the biodiversity through a scientific tree census and creating a biodiversity portal. Nishant had made headline for his efforts to bring back to life trees which were poisoned in Bengaluru to increase the visibility of an illegal iPhone hoarding.
6. Pamela and Anil K Malhotra
Pamela and Anil Malhotra bought 55 acres of land 23 years ago in Karnataka's Kodagu district, and today they have converted it into a beautiful forest of over 300 acres. The forest in Brahmagiri, a mountain range in the Western Ghats, which houses the Malhotras' Save Animals Initiative (SAI) Sanctuary.
It's probably the only private wildlife sanctuary in the country with more than 300 kinds of birds as well as many rare and threatened animal species.
The couple, who met and married in New Jersey, US, in the 1960s, had a love for nature from their childhood. When they went on their honeymoon to Hawaii, they fell in love with its beauty and decided to settle there.
When the Malhotras came to India for the funeral of Anil's father in 1986, the pollution in Haridwar horrified them. That was when we decided to do something to reclaim the forests in India," says Anil.
Yoganathan is a conductor on a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Bus in Chennai. But during his free time he has been planting saplings for the past 32 years.
In nearly three decades he has single-handedly planted more than 38,000 trees. And the story of his commitment is being taught at schools through His has found mention in the CBSE class V General Knowledge textbook. He is called a green crusader.
8. Aviram Rozin
Aviram Rozin was born in Israel, but along with his family made India their home since 2003. Rozin, his wife Yorit and daughter Osher bought some 70 acres of barren land in Auroville, Tamil Nadu and started slowly transforming it. With the help of local volunteers, the planted the barren land with seeds of endangered plant species and edible plants. In the next 13 years they transformed the place into a a forest, teeming with life and greenery.
Today, the 'Sadhana Forest' founded by the trio has developed into a bustling eco-friendly settlement with thatched houses, wind pump, solar powered LED lighting, compost toilets and gan kitchen with energy efficient stoves. Some 18000 indigenous trees have been planted so far on 70 acre mostly eroded land.