Little Jannat on mission to ‘make Dal Lake paradise again’
Rowing a shikara, 5-year old Jannat wades through interiors of Dal Lake on a mission—to clean plastic bottles and other floating trash.
Braving winter chill, it has become her daily chore to make an effort to clean the lake. And her noble mission has earned praise not only by people but Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When her video cleaning trash from the lake recently became viral, the PM had tweeted: "Hearing this little girl will make your morning even better! Great passion towards Swachhata."
The PM was responding to a video of Jannat uploaded by India Today. "The heaven on earth won't remain the same if we continue to pollute its beautiful lakes. This little girl seems to be giving the same message as she herself takes the responsibility of cleaning picturesque Dal Lake in Kashmir," India Today had posted in its 'user generated content video: Sunrise in Kashmir.'
A kindergarten student, Jannat, said it has become her passion to clean garbage from the lake. "I want to keep the lake clean," she said pointing towards her shikara loaded with plastic bottles, chips covers and other non-biodegradable items.
"I don't know why people throw garbage into the lake when there are dustbins around," she said taking a deep breath.
What inspired Jannat? Her father, Tariq Ahmad Patoo, a houseboat owner has been voluntarily undertaking cleanliness drives in the lake. "She used to accompany me during these drives. Gradually, she too started to clean the lake," Patloo said.
"It is heartening to see our younger generation concerned about our environment. These children have to preserve natural resources for their posterity," said Patloo who runs 'Mission Dal Lake', a voluntary group engaged in keeping the water body clean.
Jannat frequently uploads her videos on social networking sites urging people to keep water bodies clean by using dustbins. "I want other children to join me to keep the lake clean. I want to make it a paradise again," she said.
On Sundays, Jannat with support of her father organises cleaning drives in the lake. "It is overwhelming to see response of people towards Jannat's work. Am flooded with calls from tourists extending support to my daughter's noble cause," Patloo said.
"Awareness campaigns can help in environmental protection. When children are concerned over environment, it is an inspiration for all," he added.