2017 मध्ये “दत्तक घेऊया नदीकिनारा” हा जीवितनदीचा उपक्रम सुरु झाला. हा उपक्रम का आणि कसा सुरु झाला, नक्की काय उद्देश होता, हे पुढच्या काही ब्लॉग मध्ये येईलच.
त्या उपक्रमांतर्गत 3रा प्रकल्प, मुळा-राम नदी संगमाजवळ, औंध येथे सुरु झाला.
शुभा आणि सागर कुलकर्णी ह्या जोडप्याच्या पुढाकाराने काम सुरु झाले. नदीच्या आणि तिच्या पहिल्या भेटीचे वर्णन, त्या भागाची माहिती, तिथे प्रकल्प कसा सुरु झाला, ही सर्व माहिती ह्या ब्लॉग मध्ये शुभाने दिली आहे.
दर रविवारी, न चुकता नदीकिनार्यावर, शेजारी, मित्र-मंडळी, मुले ह्यानाही सामील करत आता सुमारे पावणे दोन वर्षे हा गट काम करत आहे. तेथे सुरु असलेल्या वृक्षतोडीविरुद्ध नुकताच त्यांनी एकजुटीने यशस्वी लढा दिला.
आपल्या सोसायटीच्या जवळ दोन नद्यांचा संगम आहे, त्यातली एक राम आणि दुसरी म्हणजे पुण्याच्या मुख्य मुळा-मुठा पैकी खुद्द मुळा, हे काहीच माहित नाही अशा परिस्थितीत ह्या गटाचे काम सुरु झाले होते. त्या टप्प्यापासून, माझी नदी, माझी जबाबदारी ही जाणीव, आणि त्या नदीसाठी ठाम उभा असलेला, वेळ पडल्यास लढा देण्यास तयार असलेला असा जागरूक गट; हा प्रवास थक्क करणारा आहे.
इंग्लिश मध्ये नदीला “it” असे सम्बोधले जाते. शुभाच्या ब्लॉग मध्ये ती नदीला it असे न म्हणता “she” म्हणते. नदी ह्या परिसंस्थेबद्दल विचार केला, तिच्या मधली अन्नसाखळी, तिच्या काठावर तिने निर्माण केलेली जीवसृष्टी, हे पाहिले की तिला it असे म्हणवतच नाही. ती तीच आहे.
The first time I walked across my society into this beautiful river bank, I fell in love with her. I crossed the dry, dusty, grey concrete road, walked a muddy patch of 100 meters and ran down a 25 feet stretch without losing my balance and there she was…. A soothing sight of a myriad of colors and life oozing out of her, high in energy – yet silent and calm in composure and an abode for zillions of organisms who were already staying there.
I quietly made a wish.. Can I be part of this home???
I neither knew it was the bank of Mula (one of the important rivers in Pune) nor did I know there was the confluence of Mula and Ramnadi a lttle ahead. But I decided to adopt this stretch as part of Jeevitnadi’s programme and thus began a journey to getting to know her better. August 2017 we adopted this stretch! A group of 10-12 volunteers took the pledge to clean her off the plastic that was stuck all over her, from the branches, to the leaves, to the roots!
I however just wanted to keep going there to feel the warmth I felt. And I wanted others to come along with me and make this feeling multiply. This simple reason has been strong enough for me to go there every Sunday for the past 1.5 years. We primarily clean the banks and witness the beauty changing colours every season. The work at this stretch inculcates an instant gratification and also love for nature, as we see her in the virgin state.
January 16th 2019, we had our first River Walk at the stretch. 138 students from 6th standard Vibgyor School visited our stretch. We had 10 other guides from Jeevitnadi who volunteered to conduct the walk. The walk was from ‘what is’ to ‘what could be’. ‘What is’-included the current state of Ramnadi and ‘what could be’ the rich bank of Mula.
Ramnadi, which flows through Baner and Aundh, only collecting all the sewage from the various societies/settlements built on her banks. So we spotted solid waste, foul smelling water and foam filled sections as we walked by her. An STP( Sweage treatment Plant) chamber released treated water into the river with such force that the kids identified the spot as a waterfall!! Though the water was treated, we discussed as to why the water still looked dirty and gross!
There is a rich Riparian zone at this stretch and when asked to identify the trees, the kids were a little lost and began searching for a coconut tree, which they couldn’t find there ! At a certain spot, they collected snake skins and couldn’t believe that the plastic like material was actually a shed snake skin! Now we started moving towards the confluence of Ramnadi to a bigger river- Mula. The kids witnessed this unique area at the end of Ramnadi being fed into Mula and thus rightly called the ‘mouth’ of a river. Mula the second river at our stretch is currently hidden under water hyacinth. Speaking about what causes water hyacinth to grow, made them realise the efforts Mother Nature is putting in to clean herself off our deeds.
Now we started moving towards the ‘what could be’ part of the walk. The banks of Mula river at this stretch is pristine with huge trees easily 100 + year old, shrubs and typical creepers which have themselves melted into the trees and made beautiful crossroads. We still have plastic deposited on the trees here, thrown in from high level flowing water during monsoons.
So as an activity we had the kids clean a 50 mtr stretch on the bank. Kids really enjoyed the activity and of all the things they identified, the maximum points went to what the glass bottles found there originally had in them. So I heard voices saying.. this is a beer bottle, this is vodka, this is whiskey.. etc etc… Brand names of these bottles definitely had more exposure than the names of trees and birds in this target audience!
We ended the walk by seeing the huge bat colony on the eucalyptus trees. The innumerable upside down bats were seen by the kids in awe! Once we came to our final point, we caught a few people taking the nutrient rich soil along with them on the other side of the bank. When we discussed and realised the interventions we humans do for our own greed, they all looked at each other and in unison shouted…”Chor… chor … chor…” We talked about how we could question, interact and stop wrong things happening right in front of us; all we need to be is a little more aware and wise!
It was a great experience for me and I felt like I had a huge group of little people at my home!
- Shubha Kulkarni, Coordinator-Mula-Ram confluence stretch, Jeevitnadi – Living River Foundation