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Clean-up Champion

Published: 21st April 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2014 11:36 AM   |  A+A-

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Chennai-based lake conservationist Arun Krishnamurthy is just 27 and has already cleaned up 29 lakes across many states. In the pipeline are three more lakes in Chennai and two in Hyderabad. Restoration of five ponds has also been completed in Chennai and two lakes are underway. A student of microbiology and mass communication, he quit a promising career at Google to form his own NGO in Chennai, named Environmental Foundation of India (EFI). His model of work, however, is a perfect example of how to streamline the academic base towards achieving one’s passion.

Arun, who was brought up in suburban Chennai, grew up watching the expanding cityscape destroying the biodiversity around him. “The environment and wildlife have always fascinated me. I couldn’t sit back and watch them get degraded. I have always wanted to do something to revive and restore the environment at our level,” he says. He has been awarded the Jane Goodall Institute Global Youth Leadership Award (2010), Google Alumni Impact Award (2011) and Rolex Awards for Enterprise (2012).

EFI approaches companies that have an environmental agenda and convinces them to invest in restoration projects. “Volunteers get the work done and corporates participate by investing in the project. EFI has won awards that have come with cash prizes. That money has also been invested into our projects. In addition to this, we are funded by our sister concern, Krish Info Media,” explains Arun, who believes every step he has taken has been guided by some spiritual force, and has been well-thought out and balanced. Having a family that has not stopped him from his passion, he says, is a great support in itself.

Arun works as a communication professional in digital marketing and invests his income back into EFI. “We don’t get paid for our EFI work. In fact, we fund the NGO and its activities from what we earn. We are doing this because we care for India and the environment,” he says.

The NGO works with communities or residents in any lake neighborhood. Well-connected across 10 cities, the NGO’s volunteer force identifies lakes in need of conservation and gets into the muck to restore the water body to a clean state.

— rahul.v@newindianexpress.com



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