Dhwani Shah, 21, was dressed in blue to signify water. She and other members of the NGO Garbage Concern Welfare Society (GCWS) were dressed in basic elements like water, fire and earth and a giant garbage ball.
“Our dumping grounds are spilling over and the dangers from poisonous discharge from the piled-up garbage cannot be comprehended. The slow degradation of the mixed waste is responsible for methane and other toxins released in the air and through the soil into our water system,” said Shah.
What better platform than the Mumbai marathon to highlight issues such as environment, education, cancer and women and civic rights. Like every year, the NGOs made sure to make themselves heard and seen at the annual run fest.
Members of NGO Vanashakti were dressed in inventive costumes, addressing issues such as tree cutting, waste management and the dangers posed by hydro electric projects.
Indian Cancer Society chose not to run but to be heard. “Since it is a disease that has led to most number of deaths, we wanted people to stop for a moment to know about the issue,” said Dinkar Due, executive head of cancer awareness department.
And, what’s spreading awareness without music and dance.
Smile Foundation, that created awareness to have sustainable initiatives to make women independent, had flash mobs at regular intervals. Some like the Children’s movement for Civil Awareness had children sitting on road during the marathon to play games to the beat of guitar.
“We teach children to be active citizens. It is important that they know what the rights of citizens are,” said Vinodini Lulla, trustee of the group.
Maharashtra state women council members ran with placards highlighting the issue of women’s rights. Animal rights NGOs such as PETA, World For All and Ahimsa were not far behind. “We wanted to create awareness about the worsening health conditions of the stray dogs and urge people to be more sensitive to their suffering,” said Krupali Shah, vice-president of Ahimsa.