ACT II (Aravali Calls Thee!) is a Plantation Drive Initiative that was woven by Onlygood in 2021 so as to do our bit for the city we live in, the air we breathe & the environment our younger generations are growing in. To aid this endeavor, we have established efficient usage of the Miyawaki Technique in our Afforestation Methods. Our aim is to build a healthy ecosystem for all species so we can co-exist together with all the flora & fauna that surrounds us.
This time at our Plantation Drive, we were joined by Mr. Ramweer Tanwar, popularly known as the Pond Man of India. He is a very popular figure in the circles of conservation & has restored over 80 ponds in and around Delhi, his current project aims at restoring another 150 ponds in addition to creating new ones!
Mr. Ramveer: I started getting involved in various small activities pertaining to environmental issues as a student like many students has come here today as well. (glances at the Plantation Drive Student Participation) Then eventually I realized that something more needs to be done. People mostly are engaged with work that helps them have a comfortable life, work like this with a higher purpose is streamlined for the weekend’s part-time work. I realized very early in my life that my calling lies in the other category, those who give their entire lives towards a cause to make this a better world. One way to tackle the environmental problem is to bring more people into this service, volunteering & weekends are not going to solve the problem. More people have to be aware, I think. I got into the work of Pond Restoration with the support of the people & the government & now I am working all over India.
Onlygood: So, what do you think will happen in India? How long will the phase of Sustainability take to spread in India?\
Mr. Ramveer: For this to happen, everybody has to pool in the effort. The thing is if this work is limited only to a small group of environmentalists, then it will take too much energy & too long. If the government and people come together and help initiatives like yours and mine, then in the next 10-15 years we will be able to see a massive difference.
Onlygood: That means our best case scenario is evident environmental changes in the next generation.
Mr. Ramveer: Yes, more or less!
Onlygood: Okay, if I may ask where do you find such extraordinary motivation to keep doing what you do?
Mr. Ramveer: It comes from people like you! People help me spread the word, they make videos like you are doing & people recognize, and comment on my posts. That encourages me & my team. Additionally, I feel that this kind of work is not meant for everybody. Sometimes people are too entangled in their daily lives & support me digitally, Getting happy at our progress, it provides a great deal of motivation & accountability on my part.
Onlygood: That’s great! Could you tell us more about your work?
Mr. Ramveer: My primary work is pond restoration, the ponds that have started to look like dumping grounds need urgent attention & revival. Apart from that we also work on constructing new ponds in villages. We are scouting for places to do this, a lot of water is wasted due to the massive concretization of the urban spaces, to be able to recharge groundwater levels by constructing ponds is a very valuable approach. Recharge of groundwater levels can be done completely artificially by digging pipes & collecting systems of rainwater harvesting but the biggest con is that this kind of conservation does not build an ecosystem, it is not reversing everything that was uprooted from nature. By reviving ponds, we are ensuring complete conservation of biodiversity-based change, a change in an ecosystem with native flora & fauna flourishing is our aim.
Onlygood: That’s true, please tell me about your future plans.
Mr. Ramveer: The first and foremost lesson is that one or two Pond Men in India are not going to bring a large-scale change, so we are planning on educating people in villages where we construct ponds. Local Volunteers & caretakers would ensure that these ponds are cleaned & not exploited. The idea is to spread the mission of pond conservation. If I teach 3 people, I hope & I would urge them to teach three more. This is going to be my process until umpteens of ponds breathe again & not die as dumping grounds.
Onlygood: Thank you for your insights & time!