The river is the lifeline of any civilization. Fast-growing Pune exploited the rivers as a source of water, and sand and used them as drainage lines for sewage and industrial effluents for the last 60 years. Today there are beautification projects being built around the rivers and their banks, by compromising the existing ecosystem of the river. A large part of the citizen community is ignorant about these issues and thus does not care to protect the river, which is a crucial part of nature. Many civil society organisations are active in the sector of river conservation, river rejuvenation and citizen science initiatives. Various campaigns and outreach programs are also being organised to build the connection between society and rivers. The ‘River Walk’, Adopt a Stretch initiative, and Toxin Free lifestyle is some such initiatives done by the Jeevitnadi organisation in Pune, working on River Rejuvenation.
Pune River Revival is a campaign spearheaded by Jeevitnadi, and backed by many other citizens and organizations like Ecological Society, Samuchit Enviro Tech, Nisarg Sevak, National Society for Clean Cities etc. in Pune. The campaign was started to better understand the River Front project implemented by Pune Municipal Corporation and highlight the deteriorating condition of the rivers due to this project. The 'Jalbodh' project by the Centre for Internet & Society- Access to Knowledge Program (CIS-A2K) to build a water knowledge repository on Wikimedia projects is being implemented in collaboration with similar organisations active in the water sector.
CIS-A2K, in collaboration with Pune River Revival group organised Mula Mutha Nadi Darshan campaign cum photography contest on Wikimedia Commons from 15 May to 31 August. The aim of the contest was to document the Mula & Mutha rivers along with their tributaries in the Pune district on Wikimedia Commons in the form of images and videos. You can see more specific topics in the Rivers and topics section. In this campaign, partner organisations like, Jeevitnadi, Ecological Society, Samuchit Enviro Tech, Nisarg Sevak, National Society for Clean Cities etc. actively participated. The outreach activities were conducted for educational institutes, citizen forums and social organisations to involve them in documentation of Mula & Mutha rivers in Pune on Wikimedia Commons. The awareness drives and technical training programs were organised for the capacity building of the participants.
Exhibition of impactful images for raising awareness
After the contest period, the evaluation of the images was done by four juries using the Montage tool. The orientation sessions to operate the tool were conducted. The first ten winners were declared after the evaluation. Along with this contest, the Pune River Revival group also conducted 'Paint the river', 'Sketch the river' and 'Poster stories on river' drives for citizens. All the works from these campaigns were exhibited in Yashavantrao Chavan Kaladalan, Pune on the occasion of 'World River Day' and 'Ganesh Festival'. On 24 September World river Day, a felicitation program was arranged for the participants, winners and activists. Veteran environmentalist Prof. Vijay Paranjpye and expert photographer Chandrashekhar Bapat felicitated the winners. Wikimedian Dr. Aarya Joshi presented the importance of free knowledge creation on Wiki projects.
Due to this three day open exhibition during the Ganesh Festival, many people visited and awareness about the status of river was increased through visuals. The Wikimedia Commons documentation helped to amplify the feelings about the worsening conditions of the river and urgent need for action. The organisers and contest participants have decided to continue this documentation efforts with more citizen engagement.
Vitthal Temple, Mutha River in August 2019 Flood at Vitthalwadi, Pune
Fishing activity by locals at Mutha River way to Nilkantheswar road, Pune
Beautiful Old Bridge
Mula river- A cursed beauty
Mula Mutha River exhibition in Pune on the occasion of World River Day (24 September 2023)
Citizens looking at the status and thinking about the Mula Mutha River
Water expert Prof. Vijay Paranjpye addressing at Mula Mutha River exhibition
Images on Wikimedia Commons at Mula Mutha River exhibition
Citizens' paintings at Mula Mutha River exhibition