Udupi: July 24, 2015: Abhishek Kumar Sharma (27) from Fatehgarh in Uttar Pradesh is a man with a mission. He has cycled 10,900 kilometres across 12 States with the sole intention of creating awareness about cleanliness and sanitation in the country.
Mr. Sharma began his cycle yatra — ‘All-India tour on bicycle for Swachh Bharat and Toilet Mission, and promoting cycling for better health and to save environment’ — from Fatehgarh on November 10, 2014.
He has passed through Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Maharashtra, Goa and is presently in Karnataka.
During his yatra, Mr. Sharma — who has done M.Sc. (Environmental Science) and M.Phil in Kanpur University — visited schools and colleges and tried to create awareness among students about the importance of cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene.
“I believe it is essential to give this message to students as they are the agents of change. I have given 2,478 lectures in schools and colleges along my yatra. I also spread this message wherever there is a gathering of people,” he said.
Mr. Sharma worked in a solid waste management company for three-and-a-half years.
“I saw a lot of garbage being thrown everywhere. We are selfish people. We do not think before throwing garbage outside our houses or roads. I thought I should do something to create awareness and started this tour,” he said. He has kept a dairy and made notes during his journey. He also tries to visit solid waste management plants of cities and towns en route. “A big problem in towns is the lack of scientific waste disposal system. Some towns have solid waste management plants but they are not being used properly,” he said.
On an average, Mr. Sharma cycles about 80 km per day depending on the weather conditions. But he is not a professional cyclist. He has a medical check-up once in 15-20 days and says he has never fallen ill on his journey so far. “There are no sponsors for my yatra. I depend on my savings. Sometimes people donate money in a box behind my cycle,” he said.
He will be cycling anther 9,000 km before he concludes his journey in New Delhi in November. His next few stops are Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Coimbatore and Kochi.