World’s Largest Beach-Clean-up,Versova, Mumbai, India

Story by Hazel Delgado Planco

versova beach cleanup

(Story by Hazel Delgado Planco)

Meanwhile in Mumbai, India, Versova Beach is home to a large community of fishermen and this inspired local residents to join efforts in cleaning up the beach.

Record-breaking sailor Ellen MacArthur who has seen more of the world’s oceans than anyone else gave a warning that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050. It is indeed very alarming that such trash will eventually take over our seas and oceans if we do not do anything about it now.

Afroz Shah, a lawyer in his 30’s and  Harbanash Mathur, a retired businessman in his 80’s has been  collecting litters in Mumbai beaches on their own initiative. Only few volunteers would help with the coastal clean-up back then.

But their tenacity and determination towards their advocacy has eventually paid off.

Despite the passing of Harbanash Mathur,  people eventually have started picking off where he left off as Afroz Shah and Versova Resident Volunteers (VRV), a 200+ member citizen group has  still been doing rounds in cleaning up Mumbai’s infamous dirty beach for over 40 weeks.

versova beach cleanup1

610,000 kg of trash has already been collected by VRV over the past weeks which has drawn the attention of United Nations Patron of the Ocean, Lewis Pugh, who flew to Mumbai to take part in the world’s largest beach clean-up in Versova Beach during the weekend.

According to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), marine litter affects tourism, recreation, tourism and shipping. “Almost all of the trash we’re seeing is single-use plastic. Heartbreaking. The section of beach we are on was already cleared out a few weeks ago, goes to show we need to find solutions upstream.” said Lewis Pugh on the Versova coastal clean-up.

So far in Versova Beach, over 2 million kgs of trash have already been removed by the volunteers.

versova beach cleanup2There were up to 673 sandals, shoes and  flip-flops that were piled up in a 10 meter radius.
Photo from Lewis Pugh

versova beach cleanup3 Lewis Pugh and Afroz Shah picking up debris in Mumbai’s notoriously dirty Versova Beach.

From 147th in nationwide cleanliness survey in 2014,Mumbai has now stepped up to 10th according to the latest survey. The clean-up efforts were also in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” or Clean India Mission, a national drive to clean up the country.

This is but a sad reflection of the lack of understanding of the consequence of our actions where our unwise practices have created problems such as reduction in biodiversity and degradation of species and marine habitats. We cannot afford to risk the very ecosystem on which our survival depends.

We must bear in mind that every single rubbish that we throw will definitely have an impact not only in our environment, but in the entire ecosystem. It begins with the individual self-discipline and sense of responsibility along with education and awareness about cleanliness and environmental issues and a better waste management system to prevent the wastes from reaching bodies of water  and help bring positive change for our environment.

And not to undervalue the impact of collective action in such efforts in saving the seas and oceans where the water system plays a significant role in our lives no matter how close or far from the shore we live because oceans are the lifeblood of the entire humanity.

Advertisements

Free Health check up camp

free health check up camp

Free Health Check Up Camp – 2nd Nov 2015


Guitarmonk SocialSocial Action Foundation & Ramanujan College presents Free Health check up camp in association with Medanta. The event will commence with an Health Talk by Dr. Vinayak Agarwal (Sr. Consultant Cardiology), 2nd Nov, 11:00am.

This event provides free health check up for needy Ramanujan College & Guitarmonk students.
2nd Nov, 2015, Monday at 10:00am to 3:00pm.
Venue: Ramanujan College, Delhi University, Kalkaji, New Delhi (Deshbandhu College Campus).


Esteemed & renowned Doctors from medanta will be there for the following checkups:

  • Cardiac Disease : Dr. Vinayak Agarwal, Sr. Consultant Cardiology
  • Cancer & Breast Disease: Dr. Tijender Kataria, Chairperson Radiation Oncology Team
  • Respiratory/Lungs Disease : Dr. Bornali Datta, Sr Consultant Respiratory & Sleep Medicine
  • Eye Check Up – Dr. Pakras, Chairman Ophthalmol

Two faces of Times of India, The Raahgiri Day Duplicity

Two faces of Times of India, The Raahgiri Day Duplicity

It is said that good begets good, ethics begets ethics. On the one hand when Delhi’s Air Pollution is rising high and higher every other day, the other hand is TOI media, whose one face is portraying regular activities on Raahgiri day and such minute sensitivities for the issue for past 1 year and its other face giving ten times ads of Cars every-day and running car-selling episodes for making money.

Cars companies have realized that you have a mindset customer in Delhi who will buy a car to show off and then these companies have this TOI type paid media for creating pollution in Delhi. Who will question these thousands crores revenue making car companies? Of-course not the greedy people. Can Minister? Can Media? It is only conscientiousness that can question.

Well you can be either ethical or duplicate. Have TOI been ethical, they could have chosen to run a Raahgiri Day episode in TIMES NOW that would guide city people to avoid usage and purchase of so many Cars at first place. They won’t focus on how much crowd they gather. Whereas we see TIMES NOW runs an episode to motivate and buy new cars and models. TOI could have chosen to follow the loyal path of Raahgiri day with honesty and an actual concern for health-cause, without missing this aspect, and not for using its newspaper space to winning hollow popular awards. Shame!

Duplicity of passionate professional media is that they think they can play both sides and also that they can question anyone without seeing mirror. But truth is that they are part of same greedy society but wearing fear-less masks of ethics. Just see, where are your those guts now that you are proud of?

Pollution Facts – Even the most posh areas of Delhi are not safe from Air pollution. You are not even safe while you are in home. US Embassy has warned of Delhi Air pollution rise. It is better we all start caring for ourselves before our loved ones get sick. We should also stop buying new cars both out of traffic and out of pollution. Some links are –

http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/even-inside-homes-delhiites-not-safe-from-air-pollution-study-633338

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/delhi-s-air-pollution-level-alarming-in-winter-mornings-cse-114121101072_1.html

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/10/29/pollution-levels-prompt-u-s-embassy-in-delhi-to-tell-children-not-to-play-outdoors/

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/pollution-chokes-the-capital-as-respiratory-diseases-rise/article6566655.ece

Kids playing guitar this Children’s day

Kids playing guitar this Children's dayChildren’s Day is recognized on various days in many places around the world, to honor children globally. In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on 14th November and has been named after the JawaharLal Nehru Birthday also known as Chacha Nehru day.

Guitarmonk Social has brought out a unique way to celebrate children’s day this year by going to various schools, social organizations and singing children’s day song with them on guitar.

Not just the kids but the teachers also participated in this moment by singing along with the kids.  We further took this children’s day musical drive to some underpriviledged kids and we got extremely glad to notice that some of the kids also came out with their innate musical talent surprising and reminding all of us with the statement that nothing can be more precious than the talent of a person.

We thank guitarmonk guitarists who played a prominent role in making this children’t day musical drive succesful.

On Parkinson Syndrome, Old Age, Disability etc – A reflection

On Parkinson Syndrome, Old Age, Disability etc – A reflectionDuring a stop at a restaurant for lunch, I noticed a frail looking old man who asked if he could share a seat with us while we were also waiting for our order. He was shaking uncontrollably and was using a 4-leg walker as he seems to walk inch by inch. Parkinson’s Syndrome has caused some of his muscles to be rigid and  also causing some tremors that affected his speech and gate.  Someone then came to give him his pouch. We were so surprised when the old man opened his bag and handed over a new Rs 50 note to the helper and struggled to zip his opened bag.

The man wanted to order some chicken but he was in great difficulty even saying the word “chicken,” until the waiter decided to tell him what’s on the menu and ask him questions that can be answered by a simple yes/no. As soon as his order, consists of chicken and bread arrived, he was eager to start his meal. But he couldn’t even put his spoon close to his mouth without spilling his food. He obviously was struggling to eat. He was like a 1 year old child with food on his face and food bits scattered on his lap and on the table.

I remained seated and continued to watch him with the corner of my eye so as not to offend him. He was gesturing something and seemed to want some more bread but couldn’t voice it out. He tried a number of times but to no avail as nobody could hear him nor pay attention to him. I decided to call the waiter to bring him another bread. I felt bad for him because he was a big man, with a large frame physique but very helpless.

His presence stirred a lot of questions in my head. Why would a vulnerable, frail old man be moving alone and why isn’t there any family member to assist him at such age? Where and who are his family members? Why is he carrying such bulk of money by himself? And with such condition as his, he can easily be robbed or tricked by some people.

I just assumed that perhaps he left his house alone because he was bored, angry or just want to unwind and go places. Or could it be he no longer have any family member who would like to look after him, or maybe he doesn’t want to be taken cared of and still want to prove that he isn’t a burden to anyone who might be looking after him and try his best to do things on his own.

I had so many assumptions in mind. But, I was really bothered by the fact that he was so fragile, so vulnerable and him being exposed to the elements and to the busy streets and harsh society, he might meet some kind of accident as his senses are also no longer that sharp and alert.

This encounter made me reflect a lot on our daily lives, our associations, our connectedness as a family, as friends, as neighbours, as acquaintances, or as a community. How many old, disabled or disadvantaged people like him are roaming the streets on their own? I couldn’t and I wouldn’t want to even imagine!

WHAT CAN WE DO WHEN GET A SIMILAR ENCOUNTER ?

I must admit that we were actually taken aback and was confused on how to approach or how we can be of help to him. Even before we logically decided or thought of an idea to be of assistance to him, his pitiable condition have already affected our emotions and we ended up sympathizing instead of showing empathy. We got caught in our own emotions, our own fears, our insecurities and self-made perceptions.

I noted some ideas on how to be of help to persons with disability and here’s what I have finally concluded:

  1. We can call a particular helpline that can send assistance and professional help to such cases (some of them are mentioned below).
  2. We can take his photo and share to the local authorities and inform them that he needs help or assistance so as not to be a target of criminals, thieves, etc. Just to ensure his safety and security.
  3. We can also try to talk to him. But we must be careful not to show pity or say something that may compromise both our security and safety.
  4. We can ask for his next of kin, who may then collect him and look after him.
  5. We can contact an organization or government agency for senior citizens, or for the disabled to help that person and also orient his family about his condition and the proper way of ensuring his health, safety and security.

No senior citizen or person with disability should be experiencing that same fate as the old man we met at the restaurant. We should continue to look after our family members not only while they can provide us with our needs but we should actually show them more respect, love and care in their old age or when they are no longer physically strong or able.

The fact that I simply observed the old man, despite his struggles and hardships while trying to move around and eat his meal. I actually feel guilty and upset at the same time. I was guilty due to the fact I really wanted to help or assist him, and yet I restrained myself to do so. Thinking that I might offend him by offering assistance when in fact he was trying to be independent. And I was also upset because other people who saw him didn’t even bother to ask if he was okay or if he needs help. And most of all, he shouldn’t be on his own afterall!

This experience is indeed an eye opener. What kind of society do we have now? What kind of community do we belong? Have we become selfish or insensitive? So many questions may remain unanswered but I am sharing this to you now, so you can also ponder and do something better next time.

Story/Experience shared by Mr Kapil Srivastava

We found following helplines numbers/address in Google but when we called them, our team received rude response (we will share their responses in separate blog and also notify them to medical authorities). We don’t advocate or have experience of anyone personally but here are they:

  1. The Neuroscience Center – All India Institute of Medical Science, Aurobindo Marg, In front of Safdarjung hospital at the crossing of Ring Road and Aurobindo Marg. Ansari Nagar, Delhi. Tel: +91-11-26588500. Website: www.aiims.ac.in
  2. Parkinson‘s Disease & Movement Disorder Society – 6, Jasville, 1st Floor, Opp. Liberty Cinema, Marine Lines, Mumbai – 400020, Maharashtra. Phone: 22007667/9967774944. Email: mail@parkinsonssocietyindia.com.  http://www.parkinsonssocietyindia.com
  3. Medanta-The Medicity – Sector – 38, Gurgaon, Haryana 122 001, India. Tel :0124-4855055.

Effort for International Yoga Day on June 21

Yoga is 5000 years old, one of the ancient health gifts to mankind, influencing and transforming physical, mental and spiritual being of a human being.

Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature”Prime Minister Narendra Modi

PM Narendra Modi Yoga

PM Narendra Modi doing Yoga

For declaring June 21 as International Yoga Day, as many as 50 countries – US, Canada and China most recently — have signed up for co-sponsorship of a draft resolution.

The resolution will be submitted soon to the UN secretariat with the government looking to aggressively push for its adoption before the end of this year.  Some of co-sponsors from the list include China, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea, South Africa and Nigeria. Some of the 1st movers are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

TOI Report states more >>

Go Green Drive and Green Anthem

Go Green drive and Green Anthem

Guitarmonk Social’s Go Green drive and Green Anthem became a popular movement among lot of Delhites and specially music lovers.

It was a month before the occasion of International Forestry Day, when guitarmonk social thought to create awareness about importance of greenary all around us. It is since then all guitarmonk branches across Delhi-NCR starting motivating all its students to come out together and connect this message to thousands of people in Delhi via Go Green Drive and Green Anthem Songs. They also composed a song on same.

The counseling continued for a month and many Guitarmonk students came forward with their contributions on the day of Forestry Day with Guitars in their hand. They not only invested money on buying thousand of plants but went on at all parts and zones of Delhi-NCR and planted trees at the locations, while singing the green anthem.

It also included free distribution of plants to local residents at every location and bringing them along in singing ‘go green’ songs.

A mini bus was booked that covered many locations in Delhi-NCR as India Gate, V3s Mall, Shopprix Mall, Agarwal Fun city mall, IP Extension, Nirman Vihar, Noida, Rohini, Gurgaon etc. The basic idea was to spread message of pollution free environment and pollution free Delhi through music.  Delhi Police also came and enjoyed the songs during the movement.

Plantation drive was also supported by contributions from Unicorn Books, JustDialMusic, Lovely Public School, Softmax Software Solutions, V3S Mall, and Unity Group Agarwal Fun City Mall.