Arun Krishnamurthy is the founder of the well known NGO – Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) in 2011. He has initiated the campaign of cleaning various lakes across India. He was chosen for prestigious Rolex Awards for Enterprise award in 2012 for scientific lake restoration in Chennai. His NGO also works in different fields like animal care, sparrow re-introduction and mass awareness. Here, Arun opens up on his inquisitive environmental journey to IMoT Agri Forum readers.
- Can you brief us the root cause behind the inception of EFI, after quitting Google?
I have always been passionate about nature conservation. Wildlife and natural landscapes have been of interest since childhood. The damage and degradation worries me, as it worries all fellow human beings. I wanted to work towards a result oriented conservation effort and thus started EFI. There are several nature enthusiasts who are waiting for a platform and I wish EFI is the platform where we unite to conserve what is left.
- What is the present condition of water bodies in Tamil Nadu?
Not just in Tamil Nadu, the state of our freshwater bodies across the country is in a precarious condition. We have no understanding on water management and the need to conserve water. We are turning our water bodies into dumpyards for solid and liquid waste.
- Has there been any significant improvement in awareness amongst people particularly youth, after the Chennai floods, towards understanding the significance and restoration of lakes and water bodies?
There is increasing interest in Chennai to conserve the remaining water bodies. People across all ages now understand the persisting problem and the need for a solution. The interest levels are high, participation is limited. We have to work towards channelling the interest into execution.
- There seems to be no end to the plastic menace. Is plastic ban the only solution?
I am not too sure if plastic ban will ever happen. The blanket ban on nature offending products is definitely the ideal solution but whether it would be done is the question. We as individuals can start avoiding as much as non-degradable waste and ensure that we do not contribute to the damage.
- Can you explain us the effect of waste dumping on aquatic species?
The dumped trash leaves a trail of toxic elements in the water thereby making it untenable for all dependent life forms.
- What is needed to induce behavioural change among public to understand the importance of lake towards well-being?
We need to understand that environment damage has an immediate impact on our health, economy and it is for our own healthy living that we need to conserve what is left. To make people understand this is the biggest challenge as on date.
- Do you think that the “Smart Cities” mission can uplift and maintain the condition of water bodies? Is there enough impetus given towards their conservation?
Any futuristic plan is welcome, as long as it has a sustainability element to it. We should ensure that Smart City projects do not end up being photo opportunities but are a revolutionary make over to our urban pockets and its environment.
- Care towards stray animals is a great work plan. Many would like to help wounded animals but don’t really know whom to contact. Your contribution towards their care?
Stray dogs, cats, birds, reptiles often die unattended in urban pockets. We are working out a model to ensure localized care for these individual animals and are expected to launch soon.
- Your final call to young people to support your campaigns…
India is blessed with varying natural habitats and dependent life forms. We cannot continue to abuse and exploit our natural reserves as we currently do. It is time we executed result oriented conservation efforts in the field.
As interviewed by Sathes kumar, Executive Editor of ‘The Agraria’ e-Magazine.