EcoAmritsar is an initiative begun by Sikhs but supported by a diversity of local stakeholders to make Amritsar a greener city, because it is a holy city.
We want to help visitors and residents be respectful of the natural environment in accordance with their religious beliefs, and for Amritsar to be a model of green action throughout the whole of India. We want to help the City of Amritsar to reduce waste, conserve water, and expand greenery projects through tree plantings and open spaces.
Our aim is for pilgrims coming to Amritsar to visit a clean green city, and to return home with ideas to improve their own footprint, and have (and pass on) a sense that being faithful is being gentle to the planet.
How did it start?
It emerged from an international meeting in November 2011, when Amritsar has agreed to join pilgrim cities around the world in the Green Pilgrim Cities program, a plan spearheaded by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), as part of the ARC-UNDP collaboration on long term environmental plans by the faiths. The commitment made by then District Commissioner of Amritsar KS Pannu, the SGPC and with the blessing of Baba Sewa Singh, honours Amritsar as a city of spiritual and temporal significance for Sikhs, and a city with the tremendous potential to inspire Sikhs to restore their connection to a healthier living environment.
What happened next?
A meeting took place in the holy city of Amritsar in June, 2012 which brought together over 200 representatives of religious bodies, city administration, environmentalists, educationists and business leaders to make commitments to make the city more eco-friendly. EcoSikh played a major role in gathering the diverse audience to launch EcoAmritsar, at the same time celebrated its own 3rd anniversary. For details about the launch and further, link here for information and here for pictures.
What role does Amritsar Foundation Day play?
Amritsar Foundation Day, in July every year (the Western calendar date changing because it is in the lunar calendar) is important for the city, yet has been forgotten by many. We decided to revive it, because it is part of the pride of Amritsar, but to make it a day to remember our duty and sewa in protecting this vital, vulnerable ecology. Having a day of green action for everyone in the city turned out to be an important way of focusing attention on the green issues that are challenging us all. In May 2013, EcoSikh and EcoAmritsar started a campaign to celebrate Amritsar Foundation Day by bringing major stakeholders and organisations together to celebrate the day through taking real actions (and bringing in longer term actions) to preserve natural resources and caring city’s environment. Visit our Amritsar Foundation Day page for more information.
What successes has EcoAmritsar had so far?
* making public gardens into zero waste places: nicer for wildlife and models for people’s own gardens.
* planting more than 100 mature banyans for Earth Day 2015
* establishing Amritsar’s Foundation Day as a day of green action
* working with schools, communities and gurdwaras throughout Amritsar to celebrate Sikh Environment Day on March 14 every year
* helping fund a green bus to bring villagers into Amritsar every night to help clean the pilgrim streets leading to the Golden Temple, thus taking real action on a current crisis and passing on the message that we need to find a proper solution to Amritsar’s municipal waste problem
Where do I find more information?
Click here for an inspiring report, exclusive to EcoSikh, about drinking water distribution in Amritsar, and why it is one of the few pilgrim cities where there are almost no plastic water bottles.
Updates Green Amritsar
Feb, 2012; please click the following link to see the Amritsar Forest Progress Report.