Wular Lake, once known for its beauty, is the largest fresh water lake in Asia. Over the years, the toxicity of this lake has increased, making it infamous for toxic debris and animal carcasses. 15 year old Bilal Ahmed Dar took it upon himself to make a difference to the valley and in doing so he has cleared almost 12,000 kg of trash from the lake. Being the only bread winner of his family, Bilal used to work as a mechanic at a local garage before he decided to revolutionize the Wular Lake. Bilal Ahmad Dar from Bandipora district of north Kashmir, has taken the onus of cleaning Wular Lake on himself. Over the years, Dar realized that the lake has become polluted with debris, plastic and polythenes. The young lad was also appointed the brand ambassador of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). Dr Shafqat Khan, SMC commissioner, said “Dar will be our brand ambassador. He is an inspiration for everybody. He has been earning his livelihood by cleaning Wular Lake and removing garbage, used bottles, shoes and other things, for many years now. Bilal will be presented with a unique uniform and a transport vehicle”.  It is been over five years since he has been actively involved in collecting this garbage, which he sells for a meagre sum of Rs 150-200 per day. The responsibility of supporting the family, his mother and sister lies on his shoulders.

 I found plastic and polyethene going into the Wular lake from Srinagar, I took the initiative to collect the trash from the lake, I thought this will clean the lake and become a means of earning and livelihood for me, said Bilal. After the death of his father, who was also a rag picker, Bilal took up the role of sole bread earning member of the family. Prior to cleaning the lake, he worked as a mechanic at a garage and as a helper at a local tea shop. The positive attitude and devotion towards the noble work is praiseworthy as Dar has been working for years to save the mother earth. His selflessness and the efforts are a message for the youth to be responsible for the healthy environment and contribute their share in keeping the planet clean.

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