This Indian Quit His Job at Google to Clean up All the Lakes in the Country

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(c) Wikimedia Commons/ The Hindu

Photo of This Indian Quit His Job at Google to Clean up All the Lakes in the Country by Samarth Arora

When was the last time you travelled the country in search of garbage dumps? Meet Arun Krishnamurthy, a 32-year-old who once had a well-paying job at Google that many would drool over. However, watching garbage being dumped in a pond turned things around and he decided it was high time an action was taken.

The Chennai-based man quit his job, turned into an environmentalist and kick-started an eco-movement as a part of which, he has managed to clean and restore at least 93 freshwater bodies across 14 Indian states.

The movement started as a solitary venture but soon turned into a community, and has now become the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI). EFI is a non-profit wildlife conservation and habitat restoration group. Started in 2007, the foundation has cleaned garbage and harmful botanical species from the said lakes and ponds and helped create a breathable atmosphere for maintaining ecological balance in the areas.

(C) Flickr

Photo of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India by Samarth Arora

In his own words, Krishnamurthy always appreciated cleanliness around water bodies and a naturally budding habitat. Hence, the choice of leaving a comfortable job at Google was not much of a dilemma for him. His efforts towards a cleaner and better environment started in Chennai, where he found support of the local panchayat. From there, the horizons for the initiative only expanded and moved to various cities.

Though EFI works closely with the Centre and State governments, it does not receive any funding. The steps taken by EFI rely on the government authorities for permissions and approvals. The primary focus of the foundation is on lakes and ponds, and the continually growing support from different state governments helps them stay motivated and vigilant.

Volunteers have increasingly been connecting with the EFI and range from school-going students to veteran environmentalists. A simple slogan 'Volunteer for India and her Environment with EFI' has proved to be effective in pulling the right strings with the right people.

(C) Wikipedia

Photo of This Indian Quit His Job at Google to Clean up All the Lakes in the Country by Samarth Arora

Clearing trash, invasive weeds, and strengthening the bunds in water bodies are part of what the team does. Some noticeable examples of their success include the Egatoor pond in Chennai, the Kinathukadavu system ponds, Pei Kulam at Tuticorin and others.

EFI runs various creative and interactive projects such as 'Cyclakes', weekend-based cycle tours to lakes and habitats for children to make them understand the importance and current state of these natural wonders. It also helps volunteers combine their fitness programs with passion for safety of the environment.

'Wall-E' is another awareness program wherein the volunteers paint the public walls with information on biodiversity. This helps the foundation popularise India's wildlife and natural habitats.

With more people and organisations supporting the initiative, partner organisations such as The Hinduja Foundation, The Murugappa Group, Shriram Group, and others have also started partnering with EFI through funds and volunteers.

(C) Wikipedia

Photo of This Indian Quit His Job at Google to Clean up All the Lakes in the Country by Samarth Arora

The zealous approach has won Krishnamurthy the Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2012 which aims at promoting individuals with innovative projects that improve life on the planet, expand knowledge, and provide substantial solutions for the future generations to capitalise on.

Cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Puducherry, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Tirunelveli and Ahmedabad have already felt the change brought about by the EFI. The foundation is currently working on 39 active projects and soon, operations in Vijayawada, Mysuru and Kanyakumaria are expected to start.

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