The Hush Post: To coincide with the celebrations of Sikh Environment Day falling on March 14, Washington-based non-profit organisation EcoSikh has released a Punjabi song titled ‘Kudrat’.
Dwelling on the urgent need for environment protection, the song gives the message of how humans have created an environmental time bomb, which can go off anytime. The audio video of the song has been made by young EcoSikh activists. The singer is Harminder Singh.
Since 2010 EcoSikh has been celebrating March 14 as Sikh Environment Day marking the Gurgaddi Diwas (Enthronement day) of Guru Har Rai, who became the 7th Sikh Guru in 1644. Guru Har Rai is known in history to have a deep sensitivity for nature and animals and had asked his followers to care of the environment. This year as many as 18 countries will be taking part in the SED celebrations.
Punjab’s statistics on the environment front are startling. Four major cities of Punjab have come in the World’s Top 25 Polluted Cities. Over nine lakh trees have been chopped from 2011-2016. Punjab is left with just 3.8% forest area. Water level is depleting at a rate of 3 feet per year. Over 102 agricultural development blocks out of 141 in the state, now fall in the dark zone, where the underground water level is 200 feet or more. There is no proper way to ensure the treatment of industrial waste before dumping it into rivers and one can very well imagine the environment with 4300 tons of garbage produced everyday with such poor garbage management facilities. This environmental degradation has resulted in spread of fatal diseases in the state. An average of 20 cases of cancer are being registered in Punjab daily.
EcoSikh volunteers are also focussing on issues like revival of gardens in Gurudwaras, banning of plastic and disposable styrofoam in the Gurdwaras, marriages and festivals and the need to promote organic agriculture. Major tree planting drives shall also be carried out all around gurudwaras.
EcoSikh activist and singer of song ‘Kudrat’ Harminder Singh said, “We were so deeply saddened by Punjab’s environmental degradation that we wrote lines of song ‘Kudrat’ right from our heart. The song talks about the environmental crisis and the continuously changing climate conditions. It is an effort to spread awareness among people to adopt a pro active strategy against Global warming and garbage disposal.” The song has been penned by lyricist Karn Lahoriya.
Every year EcoSikh organises plantation drives around this time of the year. Last year they had planted over 2000 trees in Amritsar alone. EcoSikh Project Manager, Ravneet Singh, said, “This grave environment situation in Punjab is the motivation for initiatives during the SED. As a part of our SED campaign, activists will be planting trees, doing seminars on saving water, organising-katha kirtan diwans to spread awareness about environment protection, holding cycle rallies, organising displays of organic kitchen gardens, flower shows, setting up of no vehicle zones. EcoSikh is calling upon the state government, gurdwaras, academic institutions and NGOs to focus on plantation and make sure that these trees survive.”