OzGREEN programs connect youth with communities to become leaders of innovative sustainable social change

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The Sankat Mochan Foundation and OzGREEN seek to protect the Ganges River in India by reducing pollution

The Ganges River is a significant religious and cultural site that is being heavily polluted by the dumping of untreated domestic sewage and industrial contaminants.   This causes health hazards for over 400 million people who directly and indirectly use  river water in their daily lives. 

OzGREEN has partnered with the Sankat Mochan Foundation (SMF) in Varanasi, India since 1992 when OzGREEN founders Sue and Colin Lennox first travelled to India for the River Ganges Teacher Forum. Sue and Colin provided the SMF with water testing equipment and trained 40 local volunteers to monitor the quality of the water.  Following this initial visit, OzGREEN became involved in the Clean Ganges Campaign and the establishment of the Swatcha Ganga Research Laboratory.  

The SMF’s research laboratory and environmental education centre are located on the banks of River Ganga at Tulsi Ghat. Local activities include:

  • Mobilising public attention about river pollution,
  • Regular monitoring of river water quality,
  • Environmental education and leadership programs for youth and community,
  • Safe drinking water programs,
  • Removing solid waste from River Ganga water along the ghats,
  • Advocating for effective sewage treatment systems to solve the problem

The SMF’s remarkable achievements are recognised locally, nationally and globally, including representation on key advisory groups such as the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). SMF Founder-President Prof VB Mishra was recipient of the prestigious UN Global 500 Award and acclaimed by Time Magazine as a “Hero of the Planet”.

 

Priorities

  • Upgrade the Swatcha Ganga Research Laboratory (completed)
  • Upgrade Swatcha Ganga Environmental Education Centre
  • Install eco-sanitation systems in villages affected by pollution from sewage treatment plant in Chiraigoan Block
  • Community education to facilitate informed active community participation, including targeted programs for women and youth
  • Advocate for effective solutions and bring Government and civil society together to work for the best possible outcomes
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