Not many people would bravely step up and do good deeds for the welfare of Indian society. Some do to get fame and reputation whereas some work behind the scenes without announcing it to the public because they care about accomplishing the task, come what may. Balbir Singh Seechewal proved that he is the man for the environment.
Balbir Singh pulled off something spectacular which took everyone by surprise. With intensity, tenacity, grit and determination, he single-handedly managed to clean the 160 km river in Punjab without having to depend on the government. This indeed goes to show that he has unconditional love for the nation and the environment.
Who is Balbir Singh Seechewal?
Balbir Singh Seechewal is one of the most iconic environmentalists from Punjab who is also known as Eco Baba. He is well aware of the fact that the environment is not the same as it was before. 18 years ago, Balbir Singh decided to get into the grand picture, in a bid to remove the domestic and industrial waste that was polluting the 160 km- long Kali Bein river tributary stream of Beas in Doaba region of Punjab.
The river, devoted to a religious purpose by many in the state, had slowly been losing its sheen because of all the unwanted stuff dumped into it. Due to this, water slowly dried up in some portions, resulting in immense water problems in the neighboring farms.
Knowing this, Balbir Singh Seechewal didn’t waste any time and he sprung into the act with a group of volunteers. They not only started the cleaning process but also educated the local people about the virtual importance of keeping the river clean than ever.
They raised funds with the help of contributions by the residents of more than 24 villages to purchase equipment required for cleaning. Teamwork was required to accomplish the task.. They together, cleared the hyacinth and silt from the entire river bed. In addition to that, the team sweated it out constantly on the beautification of the river bank with trees, bathing ghats, and roads.
Eco Baba created an awareness campaign that paid rich dividends:
Balbir Singh Seechewal initiated a public awareness campaign, advising villagers to dispose of sewage somewhere else and not in the river. After giving all the awareness, the natural springs were restored back to normal and the river started to fill up once again.
Eco Baba emphasised that the goal was accomplished when they worked together as a team. “We have proved that it is possible to restore our rivers to a pristine condition if we all come together. It is time to do that on a bigger scale,” he had told Time magazine.
Addressing all his efforts, the Punjab Government finally came forward to help Balbir Singh come up with an underground sewerage system model which is a low-cost model that takes sewage water from ponds and deals it in a natural way so it can be utilised for agriculture and irrigation purposes.
Eco Baba has received countless praises from many people in the country and also abroad. His impeccable work rate throughout the years was nothing short of an effect. He proved that he is a man for the environment and apart from this work, he has also established schools and colleges at different places.
Two years, ago, he came up with a brilliant idea to treat solid waste with a machine developed in the Sant Avtar Singh Yadgari Technical Research Centre under his guidance. The machine is devised in such a manner that it can separate heavy particles like polythene, iron and glass from the garbage. It is economical and hence it can be manufactured easily and is sent to Research and Development for further improvisations.
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