MORE than any other living being on this planet, environmental protection is our responsibility – no other life form has degraded nature as much as we humans have done. On World Environment Day, it is imperative that we look at the depletion of natural resources, which have reached monumental proportions. Deforestation, pollution and climate change have led to the degradation of the environment like never before. We can no longer hurtle down a path of irreversible harm to the environment on planet earth. On World Environment Day, what is needed is absolute resolve and commitment to environmental protection.
On Environment Day, we need to pledge to lead sustained efforts to bring back plants and animals from the brink of extinction, regenerating natural water sources, carrying out mass afforestation and several other day-to-day changes. These include growing trees, more green cities, better waste management and keeping our lakes and rivers clean.
Here, we list the top 10 NGOs in India that are involved in protecting our environment through various methods.
An environment-based think tank with global recognition, ATREE generates interdisciplinary knowledge to inform policy and practice towards conservation and sustainability.
The organisation has been working on social-environmental issues from local to global policy levels for almost two decades. It envisions a society committed to environmental protection and conservation on earth and stands for sustainable and socially just development. It works closely with policymakers, environmental leaders and also builds an army of next-generation environment warriors through its academic programmes, studies and workshops.
Focussed on promoting sustainable and equitable growth for every member of the society, Chintan works towards ensuring responsible and sustainable consumption, thus protecting the environment. Chintan endeavours to lessen surplus waste, promote sustainable consumption and facilitate better waste management. They also raise their voice against air pollution by creating awareness. The primary purpose of promoting sustainable consumption and waste management is to provide resources for the marginalised sections of society.
As one of India’s top NGOs for environmental protection, Chintan manages over 30 tonnes of solid and electronic waste each day in and around Delhi. They partner with garbage pickers and volunteers to free the environment from such hazardous waste and create a better future for the generations to come.
This NGO has used digital channels to protect and conserve the environment. SankalpTaru is an e-NGO, which aims at promoting tree plantations across the country. The plantation drive is run on a digital platform, allowing SankalpTaru to use innovative technologies such as GPS-tagging. Through this method, volunteers can track the progress of plantation drives. So far, millions of trees have been planted since SankapTaru’s inception in 2013.
This NGO has used digital channels to protect and conserve the environment. SankalpTaru is an e-NGO, which aims at promoting tree plantation across the country. The plantation drive is run on a digital platform, allowing SankalpTaru to use innovative technologies such as GPS-tagging. Through this method, volunteers can track the progress of plantation drives. So far, millions of trees have been planted since SankapTaru’s inception in 2013.
In the midst of the Sunderbans of West Bengal, one of the largest mangrove forests in the world, Mukti works for the region’s social and economic development and environmental protection. Mukti has been operating in the Sunderbans for almost two decades, working in poverty alleviation, education, livelihood, environment, and others. The organisation is working with around 40 communities affected by environment-related disasters such as cyclones and land and sea degradation.
Mukti assists over 5,000 rural needy women in earning a living by giving them interest-free loans, and skilling them. To protect the local ecosystem, Mukti has undertaken activities like tree plantation and encouraging people to go solar for electricity.
Working towards wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, the foundation focuses on reviving freshwater habitats such as lakes and ponds across the country.
EFI believes that most of India’s freshwater bodies are contaminated due to human activity and their revival through scientific means is of utmost importance. EFI has revived and ecologically restored several freshwater lakes and ponds across the country since 2007 and believes in revisiting them through community-based collaborative conservation efforts. The organisation works in over 14 Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, and Karnataka.
Literally translating to “friends of the people”, the Janmitran Kalyan Samiti was established in 2002 to work towards community development, hand-in-hand with the government and community-based groups. Through their Wadi Development Program in association with NABARD, they have successfully created more than 900 orchards, providing livelihood and basic needs to the tribal people.
The most remarkable accomplishment of this project is that the barren lands that farmers earlier used for growing minor crops are now fertile and provide a better income.
This programme has been supporting and protecting the environment and the people for almost ten years now. The Watershed Program is another initiative by the NGO, which aims at soil and water conservation activities in specific areas allotted to the NGO. They also work towards capacity building and training of the locals and tribal people.
The organisation works mainly in the backward region of Bundelkhand on issues affecting the rural poor. Its interventions have been on restoring natural resources and making the region’s villagers self-reliant.
Haritika has been working for rural electrification through environment-friendly solar energy and has mobilised villagers and disseminated information on its benefits. It has been working with the farmers to energise natural water sources and manage them without over-exploiting underground water. As water scarcity is a massive problem, watershed development is another area of intervention in the region. Haritika believes that its programmes can result in poverty reduction, improvement in water availability and sanitation and social progress.
This Delhi-based NGO has several programmes on environmental protection, eco-conservation, sanitation and waste disposal and training. It also works closely with the state governments in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in afforestation and other environment-related activities through its schools.
Deepalaya was founded in 1979 to foster self-reliance and help underprivileged children rise above their societal limitations. It works in various states, including Delhi, Haryana, UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand and others. The organisation regularly conducts community outreach programmes highlighting the issue of conservation of the environment, protection of ecosystems and sustainable agriculture.
Established in 1996, MGVS promotes community-based development programmes in the fields of water and soil conservation, sanitation, healthcare, and agriculture.
Water conservation in villages is a primary focus area, as the Marathwada region of Maharashtra is prone to droughts. The organisation works with local stakeholders in water harvesting, increasing groundwater levels, creating facilities for improved irrigation, and regenerating water bodies. Soil conservation is another critical area that the organisation is involved in the region. MGVS also works closely with government bodies for an integrated approach to environment-related problems the region faces.
This is a unique social organisation that spreads awareness about the environment, biodiversity, and sustainable development using short videos, social media and traditional advocacy methods. The organisation makes independent short films highlighting the need for environmental protection and promotes sustainable development.
The organisation also encourages individuals and organisations to follow in their footsteps and create more films. For this, it offers guidance on ideation, concept, script development, budgeting, shoot planning, packaging and legal formalities for prospective ‘green’ filmmakers. It also organises contests to encourage young environment-conscious filmmakers.
(The article was updated on June 5, 2022)
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Kumara has been a professional journalist for over 15 years with stints in The Telegraph and Reader’s Digest. He grew up hating maths and physics. He is a post-graduate in history. Kumara believes that cricket and Seinfeld have answers to most questions that life throws at you.