Did you know about this? For the fourth consecutive year, this 2nd of October (Friday), the Natura Outdoor Education Trust (NOET), will host the I-Day Trash Dash for Mumbaikars to do their bit for the country’s forests and enjoy themselves while doing it! The Trash Dash is essentially a crazy-fun Clean-up Marathon in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), which sees people of all ages scramble through the forest, trying to collect the most amount of garbage; while at the same time having a great time with the many games and activities along the way. This year, Trash Dash aims to involve 500 participants in clearing out almost 3 tonnes of garbage out of our city’s precious forests. What an utterly fabulous idea!
How it Started
Trash Dash began with just 40 people coming together to clean up their beloved forest. They managed to collect about 175 kg of garbage. The next year the number grew to 75 and the collections swelled up to 320kgs.
Last year the 3rd Trash Dash saw more than 200 participants collecting, in a span of just 5 hours, One Thousand and Ten Kilograms (1010 Kgs) of trash being hauled out of the National Park. This year, they would like to take the figures up to 500 participants and 3000 kgs of garbage!
Why the National Park?
Simply because its time Mumbai-ites realised that the 104-sq km National Park is the only one of its kind in the midst of any megapolis in the world and that it provides us the clean air we breathe and the water we drink. Its about time Mumbai’s citizens helped in healing the lungs of our city.
Why the Independence Day?
For years now, our national holiday had been reduced to blaring patriotic songs, plastic flags at traffic signals and extensions to long weekends. The Trash Dash has been held on this day simply to remind people of the many ways do their bit for the country.
Though, This Year they decided to postpone the IDTD to a further date from the usual 15th August. They did this out of respect for the city’s concern over a public congregation amidst the fears of a H1N1 pandemic in Mumbai.
After days of deliberating on the next perfect date for the Trash Dash, they’re happy to announce the rescheduled date of the I-Day Trash Dash as the 2nd of October 2009.
The Plan This Year
The Trash Dash this year will be, in effect, 2 simultaneous events at 2 ends of the SGNP. At Borivali, 350 participants will clean out the most impacted areas; while in Yeoor, Thane, 150 individuals will clear out the main public access area. At both the events, the clean-up marathon will be dotted with numerous activity stations letting the crowds indulge in some quick fun to keep the tempo high throughout.
Loads of prizes will be given out to the people who collect the most garbage as well as loads of freebies to almost everyone taking their time out for Trash Dash.
Life after the Trash Dash
Following up on this event, we’ll be involving a corps of ParaForest Volunteers to assist the Forest Department with the day-to-day running of the park, whether by participating in an anti-liquor patrol or by educating visitors to the park about the perils of littering.
This way, instead of becoming a once-a-year event of little consequence, NOET’s Trash Dash promises to be a starting point in encouraging Mumbaikars to take responsibility for our magnificent National Park.