With an aim to promote green environment and save trees, a group of 26 college students conceived an NGO, Planet 3 Protection Alliance (P3PA) in December 2009. Involved in many eco-friendly programmes, one of P3PA’s most active initiatives is the green run. Called Harithon, the green marathon aims at creating awareness among the people in the city. With this year’s Harithon coming up next month, City Express got talking with Kantha Rao, co-founder and director of P3PA, and the brainchild behind the marathon. Despite most of the old hands having left, Rao has nevertheless stuck by P3PA stubbornly, determined to sensitise people about green causes and pollution.
“Earlier Hyderabad was one of the greenest cities in India but with its rapid development, the green shield has depleted over the years. We wanted to bring the change at the grassroots level and that is what gave rise to P3PA,” he explains of the start of the NGO. Understanding that it would take a collaborative effort, the events organised would include people from various backgrounds.
“In association with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), we have been organising various tree plantation drives involving people from different sections of society, like schools, colleges and corporate companies. Also, Harithon and Green Exhibition have been a part of P3PA over the years to promote eco-friendly ways of protecting environment,” explains the social worker.
Over the years, P3PA has conducted about a dozen plantation drives in areas like Attapur, Sangareddy and Botanical Gardens, in association with the GHMC and Ganga nursery school. Pointing out the loss of green cover that has happened, especially after the IT boom, Rao has tried to sensitise people to it by inviting them to plant saplings. But while just the few who turn up for the plantation drives are made aware of the need of the hour, the 24-year-old realised that a more effective way to spread the word was by doing something bigger, like the marathon and the Green exhibition.
The five kilometer Harithon has been happening for the past three years, with this year being the fourth edition. Open to anyone above eight years of age, the response has been heart warning. Explaining why the marathon was coined so, Rao says, “We want to save our planet and this starts with saving one city and moving to a bigger level. P3PA stems from the fact that Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so it’s Planet Earth Protection Alliance. Harithon is a combination of ‘harith’ which means green not only in Sanskrit but also in Telugu and Hindi, and ‘on’, from words like marathon and Greenathon to make it sound like a march.”
Since it’s inception, many schools, universities and MNC’s have come forward to participate in Harithon. Schools and college encourage their students to join the run whereas corporate companies take up packages and sponsor their employees. To promote the event, Harithon recruits campus ambassadors who spread the word in their office, school, college and locality. They also help with managing the registrations and getting sponsors. The campus ambassador with the maximum number of registrations becomes the Face of Harithon.
If running isn’t your thing but still want to be a part of the green movement, you can spend time at the Green Exhibition that will be held at the same venue in the morning hours. Providing a platform for green companies pursuing green technology to connect with their target audience, there will be a display of eco-friendly products like jute bags, khadi wear, potted vegetables, eco-friendly colours and so on.
“This exhibition is a way to spread awareness about practices that can protect Mother Nature. Green entrepreneurs and companies can showcase their best products, ideas and practices like rain water harvesting, square foot gardening, composting and promoting the use of bicycles for commuting short distances,” he elaborates. With Hyderabad home to a large software employee population, Rao is excited for this year’s special initiative -- silicon recycling, in association with Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited.
“There’s a lot of silicon waste that gets generated in this tech-savvy age. We want people to be aware not just of the carbon footprint, but also silicon. In this regard, Ramky Enviro is going to put up bins to collect the silicon waste like chargers, mobiles, laptops. This way e-waste can be collected and recycled rather than dumped in the open,” says the youngster.
On your feet
Harithon, the Green Run invites people to run for the green cause. Being organised every year for the last three years, this year’s edition is set to take place on February 23. The five-kilometer run will be flagged off at People’s Plaza, Necklace Road and it will come back to the starting point via Sanjeevaiah park. Anyone above eight years of age can participate in the run and they will be provided with an organic t-shirt which is manufactured without using pesticides.
For online registrations, log onto www.p3pa.org.in, otherwise visit Almond House at Himayat Nagar and Banjara Hills to sign up. A registration fee of `250 is being charged which includes an organic T-Shirt, participation certificate and refreshments