India generates 1,00,000 tonnes of garbage every day! The issue of garbage disposal doesn’t seem to come to an end with more and more waste being produced each day. The state and central government have time and again introduced campaigns to curb the problem, the most recent one being ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyan’, however, progress seems slow on the disposal front. But in Srinagar, an 18-year-old is bringing waves of changes by cleaning thousands of kilograms of garbage from lakes!
Meet Bilal Dar, an 18-year-old determined to clean the Wular lake. Hailing from Bandipora district of north Kashmir, Dar was appointed as the civic ambassador of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in July this year.
A rag picker by profession, this young boy has been cleaning the Wular lake since he was 13 years old. The sole earner of his family, Bilal collects plastic trash like bottles, containers etc from the lake and sells it. He earns rupees 150 – 200 per day from the trash. His father too was a rag picker before he died of cancer in 2003.
According to reports, Dar collects almost 12,000 kg of trash every year. “He is an inspiration for everybody. He has been earning his livelihood by cleaning the Wular Lake,” said Dr Shafqat Khan, commissioner of SMC to the Hindustan Times.
As an ambassador, Bilal has been given a uniform and a vehicle to go to different villages and talk about his story. Happy with the development in his work, Bilal talks to people about environmental issues and the right way to dispose of garbage.
Bilal’s is not giving up on earning money to protect the environment. He has proved that it is possible to have the best of both worlds!