Jeeth Milan Roche Spearheading Pro-Environment Initiatives
Entrepreneur and Environmentalist Jeeth Milan Roche of Mangaluru spearheading pro-environment initiatives in the city
Mangaluru: Entrepreneur and Environmentalist Jeeth Milan Roche, who is also the Founder of Mangalore Green Brigade is on a mission to Mangaluru a environmental and green City. Al Gore, the 2007 Nobel Prize Winner had said, “The symbolism – and the substantive significance – of planting a tree has universal power in every culture and every society on Earth, and it is a way for individual men, women and children to participate in creating solutions for the environmental crisis.” Global warming is something that scientists and environmentalists across the world are warning us about.
Experts tell us about the grave changes that could occur in the future unless we protect the environment. The best way to protect it is by keeping it green. The government, City Corporation and other agencies are doing their part in transforming Mangaluru City into a greener city by planting trees. Every individual also has to realize his or her duty to protect the environment for future generations. And here is this person, 40-year-old Jeeth from Kudla, who is very much determined to make Mangaluru a “Green City”, by sacrificing his time and energy for the betterment of the environment.
I had the opportunity to meet Jeeth during the Press Meet organized by NICO, in association with Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) and the Mangalore Green Brigade, to launch an awareness drive on waste (about Segregation) in Mangaluru, going on now till November 25, 2016. The well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. Every Action Counts- Everyone should realize the responsibility to care for the Earth and to become agents of change, just like Jeet Roche. Every one of us, just like Jeeth should do something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
Talking to Team Mangalorean after the press meet, Jeeth said, “Despite daily announcements to segregate waste made by the agency collecting waste, not many are doing the same. The agency personnel were simply collecting un-segregated garbage without questioning people. Hordes of plastic was being dumped at the landfill site making the area unfit for greening. It is important to educate about waste segregation to the general public. We are starting this process with students and young adults.” Jeet Milan, whose Mangalore Green Brigade has been spearheading pro-environment initiatives in the city, expressed his support. “Smart city needs smarter waste management. Smart City, Smart People and Smarter Waste Management. In this regard it is heartening sign that the young have taken the initiative,” he said.
In a major boost to the campaign, the Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner Mohammed Nazir has agreed to endorse the campaign. Apart from Green Brigade, APD foundation too has partnered with the campaign. Mangaluru City generates more than 300 tonnes of waste each day and almost 85 percent goes to the landfill. Proper Solid Waste Management (SWM) is the door to a clean and healthy environment and it’s imperative that residents understand it. The campaign will include performances, talks, planting drives, games, a poster making competition along with a range of efforts to bring attention to the issue.
Jeeth Milan has joined hands with NICO Brigade- a team comprising of students, established for the purpose of creating awareness about environmentalism and waste management in Mangaluru. With an objective to create a new class of media professionals who believe in universal access to welfare and to develop a deeply reflective understanding of India, the team will be actively going around Mangaluru City promoting waste segregation through innovative presentations, skits and activities. Working in different committees, they have been striving towards making Mangaluru a cleaner and smarter city.
This awareness campaign on segregation is not a day’s event. It is a campaign; a people’s movement to raise awareness toward better management of waste in Mangaluru. It is an earnest effort to prevent a crisis that other cities seem to be inching closer to. It is an affirmative action so that the city will never find itself reacting to a problem a little too late. The Team is urging people to participate in this campaign for the sake of city’s future. The events are designed to educate the public about the most important aspect of waste management i.e., segregation at source.
The Mangaluru City Corporation’s (MCC) recently launched policy on waste segregation is going to be one of the major areas of focus as citizen participation is crucial for its successful implementation. The drive seeks to inform the public about different kinds of segregation of wastes into biodegradable and non-biodegradable, liquid and solid categories and the necessity of it all. Jeeth in coordination with NICO has also planned to conduct a skit on waste segregation at the Mangaluru jail, Railway Station, Sultan Battery, District Court, and Bengre community. The same play will also be taken to several schools and colleges across the city. The campaign also aims to reach out to city residents by holding fun games at malls and public places in the city with the express intent of raising awareness.
For the thousands of families that live near Mangaluru’s landfill site at Pachanady near Vamanjoor in the outskirts of Mangaluru, where tonnes of garbage generated by the coastal city has been dumped for decades, there’s hope in sight. Jeeth Milan Roche with the support of the city corporation and the forest department had planted over 3000 saplings, mainly banyan, fig and peepal, annually in a bid to convert the dump yard into a small green belt to give some relief to the residents of the area who suffer from several skin, respiratory and gastric ailments. The landfill area has just about three feet of mud on top and below that is plastic and other debris. The situation worsens during monsoons when waste percolates into the ground and contaminates water.
Jeeth had taken up this project to bring some sort of a relief to the residents living in that area as the trees would clean the toxins in the air. He did a thorough research on the soil in order to plant the saplings as the ground is said to be layered with plastic from the dump. Though it might be difficult for the saplings to survive in such conditions he believes that with care and nurturing the trees would be able to grow and co-exist. He also created the ‘Nagavana’ in an open space close to the landfill, surrounded by various medicinal plants. “My aim was to make sure that the saplings would not be harmed because of its importance . We are the root cause of our own destruction. We humans are so ignorant to the damage we cause that we wait for disaster to strike. If we all take small steps by the just planting trees a great difference can be made. Trust me, we all can make a difference if we act now” said Jeeth Roche.
Planting saplings in the area is a big challenge as it is prone to fire accidents. “I have planted about 6,000 saplings in the Adyapady area, but because of scant pre-monsoon showers, the casualty rate of the saplings was high. I prefer to plant trees at cemeteries, since I believe this is the only place where trees are safe. We have already covered a majority of cemeteries.” added Roche. Few years ago, he also took the initiative of a ten-day tree-planting project, on the the National Highway between Nanthoor and Karnataka Polytechnic (KPT) “I have wanted to plant trees along this stretch. This is the gateway to Mangaluru as it is the way to and from the airport. What was once a dump yard and a convenient toilet for truckers, has now become a tree-lined avenue welcoming visitors to Mangaluru ‘ says Roche. The transformation on this stretch of NH was Roche’s vision of a “Greener Mangaluru”
While taking up this project, Jeeth said, “I approached Mangalore City Corporation for beautification of the stretch, but was referred to National Highway Authority of India, which asked me to go back to the civic body. It seemed like the land belonged to no one. However, after repeated pleading, NHAI gave us permission to go ahead, but with a condition: we had to plant four metres from the road. With the first hurdle cleared, I confronted the second hurdle – clearing debris and removal of human refuse as the area had been used by truckers to relieve themselves. We needed an earth mover to clear the debris. People had been dumping here for a long time. Even concrete left over after concretizing the roads in the city was dumped here, forming huge concrete boulders. While cleaning, we even found carcasses of cats close to Kadri Park. Eventually, Sanath Shetty, a architect and builder lent labour and money to run bulldozers to clear the debris. And thus, this project materialized”
During the last decade or so, Roche claims to have planted more than 18,000 saplings across the city. Whether it is the 700 plants in Aloysius College in Mudipu, 2,400 plants at Nandigudda cemetery, lining National Highway 48 between Padil and B.C. Road, over 3000 saplings at Pachanady dump yard, Roche has played a crucial role in the afforestation drive. Supporting Jeeth’s love for trees, I can say that trees are more significant than many of us might imagine. They commemorate births and lives lived. They beautify slums, farms and grand avenues. They provide shade, oxygen, and delight. They cool the Earth. Some of the seedlings we plant will restore springs long dry, prevent soil erosion and create fertilizer to boost harvests. Countless more will provide food for people, in rural areas and cities alike. Some will supply forage for livestock and for insects that pollinate crops. Many will produce wood and natural oils for building and for fuel. Yet others will be used to create medicines to heal the human body and essential oils to ease the soul. All will draw carbon dioxide from the air, leaving us a little less vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change.
Jeeth Milan said “I will continue doing this as long as I can. Mangaluru is losing its green cover and it is disheartening to see trees disappear,”. Like what Jeeth says “Whatever we do to Nature is ultimately something that we are doing to our own deepest selves.”, – We the citizens should appreciate and support Jeeth Milan Roche’s fight to save trees/plants, so that we can a have a “Greener Mangaluru” rather that a city filled with concrete structures. We need to support his segregation idea. Long Live JM Roche and his work in bringing awareness about environment.in and around Mangaluru.