In the times that we live in, preservation of the planet and its environment is of paramount importance. Global warming and climate change are not speculations. They are realities that face humans in the 21st century. Pollution and ecological degradation have reached unprecedented levels. Temperatures globally have increased by more than 1 degree since the 1880s. Nine out of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2000 (says NASA). Arctic Ice has shrunk to its lowest levels. Sea levels are rising. What would we leave for future generations? There is no time to be lost. In this direction, governments, industry, and institutions, particularly common citizens and civil society must join hands to save the Earth. There are several such groups which have made it their mission to protect the environment and take the fight in their own hands. FABGA (Fresh Air to Breathe Gardens Association) is one such NGO which has made it its mission to promote healthy living.
Based in Oshiwara Mumbai, FABGA was formed by the morning walkers group under the initiative of Bollywood actor Annu Kapoor, who is also the President. Kapoor along with his colleagues has been instrumental in the upkeep of the management and maintenance of local parks such as the Walawalkar Park.
“Healthy living, clean air and the right to fresh air are a prerequisite for a sustainable lifestyle. These are factors that can lead to a productive society. I hope people understand its significance and strive towards an environment that is pollution-free,” says Annu Kapoor, an award-winning actor of Bollywood, who has worked in movies as well as serials on Indian TV.
“We all desire to leave behind the treasure of nature to our children. I am sure none of us will accept even 1% quality deterioration in the environment for our next generation. We must act upon rising pollution levels and global warming and FABGA can be the first step in that direction,” says Hariom Sharma, a FABGA activist.
The society has a vigorous calendar of events and programs to cater to the needs of the environment as well as the members. For example, it recently collaborated with the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) and received accolades for its wonderful contribution in maintaining the environs of the area. In fact, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has acknowledged FABGA’s efforts and initiatives. The MCGM and FABGA joined hands in order to start a Cleaning and Waste Management drive, starting from the Oshiwara Garden.
“Cleanliness contributes to fresh air. Though we talk about Swachh Bharat and come on the roads with brooms for a day, we eventually end up forgetting about it unfortunately. Cleanness exists in our habits which involve managing our daily waste and garbage. Unless we address the issues effectively, we would continue to fail in a sustainable and clean city to leave for the coming generations. Cribbing will not work, but action will,” says Ajay Bhaskar, a senior member of FABGA.
FABGA also initiated a tree plantation drive on the World Environment Day in Mumbai.
“FABGA intends to take up more projects towards ‘Building Better Environment and Habits for Tomorrow’ and bringing people together for this cause. This includes events such as Waste Management, Tree Plantation Drives for Housing Societies, Rainwater Harvesting, Solar Energy Source Set ups, Fabga Run, etc. We are looking for volunteers and the initial response has been overwhelming,” adds Ajay Bhaskar.
In fact, the events have a struck a chord with the local people and one can already see the community building up around the issue.
“I am happy that my comrades conceptualized and executed initial FABGA projects. This excites us to take the next big ones,” says Annu Kapoor, President, FABGA.
In fact, similar organizations have sprung up in other parts of the city as well. This is a sign that common citizens of the country are taking active interest in resolving issues that directly affect them.