Kumbh Mela is one of the largest peaceful congregations where devotees and tourists from all over the world, come together to preach and practice their faith or to experience the festival. Sangam – the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India is considered one of the holiest spots of Hinduism, and a dip at the Sangam referred to as ‘Shaahi Snaan,’ is believed to wash off one’s sins.
In 2019, almost 15 crore devotees and visitors are expected to visit Allahabad to be a part of the three-month-long Kumbh Mela. Since the Sangam is not accessible by road, devotees would need to take a boat to reach the spot. As the volume of visitors is high, there is a substantial amount of littering that occurs – especially from plastic bags used to hold flowers and garlands. All of this, unfortunately, ends up polluting Sangam.
To address this challenge, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) introduced a simple and innovative solution – ‘Swachhata Ki Sawari’ which aims to keep the river clean. As part of this exercise, two nets, attached on to the sides of hundred boats which will be used to ferry passengers to and from the Sangam. These boats will shuttle between the ghats where the journey would start and end.
Once the boat is in the river, the nets, closed at one end, will collect the floating garbage during the journey. Once the boat reaches the shore and the passengers disembark, a team of cleaners would remove the trash from the nets and reinstall clean nets. The cleaners would then transport the collected waste to the designated garbage area.
This is a simple solution to the more significant problem of river pollution and can be adopted by the Mela authorities and scaled up going forward.
‘Swachhata Ki Sawari’ is part of HUL’s umbrella campaign ‘Start a Little Good’, which reinforces the Company’s philosophy of Doing Well by Doing Good and encourages consumers to do their bit so that collectively, small actions can make a big difference.