Hyderabad: In a scenario where many people just complain about the lack of cleanliness in public spaces without bothering to do anything about it, Earthlings is a city based voluntary NGO that not only cleans places up but also ‘adorns’ different spots in the city. This is in addition to performing various other activities related to protecting the environment as Earthlings is an environmental protection organisation.
How does the cleaning up of spaces fit into environmental protection, one might ask and Earthlings’ founder Sriram’s answer to this is, “Cleaning up a place is the easiest way to get someone’s attention. When people see us working so hard, they tend to stop throwing trash there. Also, cleaning up a place enables tree plantation. This is why we feel it fits into our agenda.”
Started by Sriram Arumilli and Gowtham Reddy in 2016, the NGO now has a network of over 200 volunteers in Hyderabad and Chennai. The story behind its inception is interesting, as Sriram explains, “When I was a student, I saw a tree being chopped down and I realised there should be someone to protect them. I did some research and ended up working for an NGO called The Green Nest. It shut down later because they had some issues with registration. That experience motivated me to start an organisation of my own and that’s how Earthlings was born.”
They started beautifying various spots in the city by cleaning them up and painting them. They called the programme ‘Adorn Hyderabad’.
“Under this programme, we cleaned up and beautified several places in the city. Doing this sends a clear message to people that it is up to us to maintain our own city,” shares Sriram.
A key activity of theirs is when they team up with major events like marathons and more as a Go Green partner. Under this, they clean up the trash generated at the event and sort it and send it off to a recycling/dumpyard. “People would be surprised to know the amount of trash each of these massive events generate. We put volunteers across the route at a marathon and these volunteers collect all the trash. After this, we sort it properly and whatever can be recycled, is sent for recycling. There was one marathon where we handled about eight tonnes of trash,” explains Sriram.
The NGO, which does about two activities every month and is funded by donations, is planning to head to schools to conduct workshops on environmental awareness and to ensure the future generation is rightly aware.