Volunteering along the Ganges River
Usually every Sunday was our free day at the Ashram in Rishikesh, India where I was obtaining my yoga teacher training certificate , I would wander around the city and go on my "walks" which was a way for me to explore my surroundings , and to clear my head. During one of my walks, I encountered a sign. “VOLUNTEERS NEEDED CLEAN UP GANGES RIVER” it read. In case you were unaware, the Ganja river is the holiest river in all of India. It was baffling to me that such a symbol of spirituality was being carelessly overtaken by pollution. Of course, I understood that the pollution of the Ganges river wasn’t simply caused by ignorance , but a lack of education for the locals on how pollution effects the environment . With an overwhelming population of approximately 1.2 billion people living in India you can only imagine the amount of waste that is produced on a daily basis and without proper education this matter will only get worse .
Pollution is severely chipping away at India’s beauty and its currently one of the most polluted cities in the world . Garbage flocked the street as pigeons do in America. Of course, I was personally moved by the issue, and inquired further about volunteering. A woman by the name of Swami Amritarupananda was running the clean up and arranged for a friend of mine, Yogi Arjun, and I to meet the following Friday, which was my last week in India, and I could not think of a better way to the conclusion of my trip. Helping clean a river as holy as the Ganga was an immersive experience that rang true to my core values: servicing others. The other volunteers understood my enthusiasm for service. In fact, Swami Amritarupananda was originally from Canada, and made India her home and dedicated the past ten years of her life to helping revitalize the Indian environment, a remarkable task for sure.
Fortunately enough, my friend’s and I volunteer efforts did not go by unnoticed by the Indian community, as a lovely hotel owner invited us to have a drink of Masala Chai tea, an elegant, delicious, and addicting tea. It was a great thirst quencher after a long day of work. Yet, even more refreshing than the tea was the fact that members of the Indian community recognized and appreciated the effort we were doing to make the country pollution free.
Although, we do need more help.As previously stated, the garbage of India is a nasty beast, overcrowding already heavily populated cities and even decimating some of our most beloved religious sites. Aiding India’s sanitation problem would not only be hugely appreciated and well needed by the Indian community, but it is critical to understand that India’s environmental problems impact the entire world. India’s problems are our problems, Now more than ever, humanity needs to be united under a common goal, combating the beast of sanitation issues through the power of volunteering. So please, help us, help