81, Bhanota, Gr. Noida, UP, 201311
Lake revival and Environment Conservation work in Delhi-NCR
Vikrant Tongad is a young, self-motivated environment conservationist. He is a nominated member of the District Environment Committee, Noida. He started showing inclination towards environment and social work in year 2010 in his college days, as the groundwater table of his native village in Greater Noida and adjoining areas (Delhi-NCR) was depleting at a fast rate. He formed an informal group to bring awareness among villagers and took out the first water rally in year 2010, which created a lot of awareness about water conservation.
During the water awareness campaign, he realized that the amount of groundwater a builder pumped out to create basements, which was simply thrown down the drains, in a single day is equal to water used by villagers in one entire year. Vikrant approached many departments/builders to stop this wastage but no concrete step was taken. However, he continued his endeavour. Finally, his efforts bore result and groundwater extraction was banned in the year 2013 for builders and construction work.
Millions of liters of groundwater, that was wasted daily, was saved. Since then, by court order, around 500 under-construction real estate sites/builders in the area have used only treated water of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) instead of groundwater for construction.
At this stage, he realised that he needs to take his hyperlocal campaign to save water on a national level, and especially involve the youth. Also, that India -- with its vast jungles, deserts, coastlines and deserts -- is dealing with a complex web of environmental issues, all of which are crying for attention.
Vikrant decided to formally register ‘Social Action for Forest and Environment’ (SAFE) to work on this cause in a professional and effective way for mission environmental justice, in year 2013. So far, in this journey, he has been able to do very effective work at the ground level. He has raised more than 20 environmental litigations in Supreme Court, High Courts and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for multiple environmental issues and received positive judgments.
Along with this, he is very active at the grassroot level. He has planted more than 10,000 trees with his team in the last 10 years and revived around 12 water bodies (Lake) in the Delhi-NCR region. He has also organised around 100 water awareness programs called JAL PANCHAYAT (formerly known as Jal Chaupal). He is also continuously training other youngsters in environmental protection work. Besides, he regularly speaks on environmental issues and climate change at different platforms like public meetings, college events, workshops, seminars, media debates, newspapers and through social media.