Despite belonging to a generation that wants to shine in academics to land a dream job, 25-year-old Arun Krishnamurthy thinks different. He quit his well-paid job in Google that taught him to get out of the comfort zone and take up challenges, to work towards environmental issues and started the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI).
EFI is now working towards restoring three lakes that are among the large water bodies in the city’s suburbs.
With the help of around 900 volunteers, most of then school students in the age group of 11-18, EFI is in the process of cleaning three lakes in Keelkatalai, Madambakkam and Mudichur, as part of its Lake Restoration Project.
“Water bodies in suburban areas need immediate attention. With the real estate boom, they are being neglected,” says Arun Krishnamurthy, who has been volunteering for environmental causes right from his college days. They began with a lake scan and made a blue print plan after identifying the topography.
While volunteers clean the periphery of the lake, they get the help of divers from the Chennai Corporation to go deep water and clean the lakes.
EFI has already restored five lakes in Chennai, five in Hyderabad and one each in Delhi and Kolkata.
“We don’t accept donations (corporate or government). It’s all self-funded. We even provide the cleaning equipment, masks and gloves for the volunteers. Sometimes, residents in the locality help us. We are restoring Arasan Kazhani lake in Perumbakkam with funds from local residents. We rope in volunteers through the Science Badge Fellowship we offer to school students,” explains Arun.
Arun’s work was appreciated and it fetched him Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2012, apart from other awards earlier. The prize money is being used to restore Keelkatalai lake.
“I want to restore 20 lakes across India before the end of 2016. I also want to establish four animal homes, including two in Chennai and one each in Hyderabad and Bangalore,” he says.