World Environment Day: Dhan Singh Ghariya, the unsung eco-warrior, giving life to plants from the wastewater

Ajay Ramola
GG News Bureau
Dehradun/Chamoli, 5th June. Water is considered as an Elixir of Life, but its wastage has always been a matter of concern for the people, especially environmentalist around the world.
The villages, towns or cities all are facing this water wastage problem and the irony is that it is affecting the lives of people of the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand that is known to have more than 20 rivers flowing through its terrain, nourishing the plains of northern India.

The water instead of being wasted if reused can do wonders for the water-starved highlands of Garhwal. An Eco-warrior Dhan Singh Ghariya, the school teacher from Government Inter college Godli in Pokhri sub-division of Chamoli district has been working for the past decade to collect the rainwater and reuse it effectively thus helping in environment conservation.

Dhan Singh Gariya got the idea while he began the sapling plantation drive 10 years back. He observed that the plants were dying due to the absence of the water required for their growth. Realising that water recharging was the only solution, he began the work of creating recharging systems in the village by channelling the wastewater from the households into the tanks that were constructed at various ends of the village. He then focused on rainwater harvesting and built ponds and tanks at the various spots in the village. The hard work done by Dhan Singh with the help of the school children paid a rich dividend as it resulted in increasing the water capacity of the village and sustaining the saplings that were planted in the village. With plants getting the required amount of water the mortality rate of the saplings too declined considerably. Today, the whole area has turned into a green forest and has also helped in recharging aquifers thus providing a permanent and continuous source of water said Dhan Singh Ghariya.
He did not stop there and with renewed vigour began working for greening the adjacent villages and began planting trees near the source of the local springs which over the years enhanced the water levels thus providing drinking water in the summer season.

“Now the spring water does not dry out in summers and provides the drinking water whole year round and I have created 17 to 18 patches that are initially monitored by me and then the patch is passed on to the villagers. I have been able to create more than 17-18 mixed forest patches and the trees of Apricot, Apple has begun bearing fruits, said Ghariya.
In order to create environmental awareness among the student of his school a patch of mixed forest with more than 100 trees has been developed students through nature walks,are educated about the birds and butterflies that are frequent visitors in the forest said Ghariya.
He has not remained idle during the Covid Curfew and has created a beautiful kitchen and flower garden at his home using the discarded buckets and broken plastic dustbins.
When asked about the funding for such work he said my half of the salary as a teacher goes into the work of environmental conservation and I have not received a penny from any environmental or governmental organisation so far.
Ghariya has been able to plant more than 35000 trees in hand aims at planting over I lakh trees in the Chamoli district. Apart from this, he has also taken up the job of removing plastic waste that has been left behind the trekkers. He also collects plastic waste left over by the pilgrims during religious fairs and Yatras. The scholarship provided to more than 150 students provided by him is also helping in improving the literacy rate in the region.

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