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Mumbai college students' campaign for open space in city
According to United Nations, a standard of 9 sq meter open space should be available per person, but Mumbai falls short by 90 per cent! There are spaces in the city that have been allotted as open public space, but are encroached upon by builders, politicians, and slums. But we don't even realize that somebody else is taking away our rightful property, simply because we don't know that it belongs to us. And that's where we came up with the idea for our campaign.

IT'S A pleasant winter morning. The sun hasn’t risen yet. There’s a chill in the air, which makes me think of warm comforters and soft beds. I am surrounded by people like me, who braved their way through similar thoughts to stand here at the platform, gearing up for a day much like any other. When all of a sudden, the war trumpet booms - “6 bhaj kar 48 minute ki Churchgate jaane waali jalad local, platform kramank ek par aa rahi hai. Yeh local...”

 
Shaken out of our stupor, armoured in thick shawls and scarves, and armed with fat handbags, we Mumbaikars are ready to wage our everyday war with the city.
 
We put up with irate colleagues, sweaty passengers, short-tempered cab drivers, and demanding professors and bosses. We walk our way through shit, garbage, rats, and dogs. We walk amidst looming buildings and a thick cloud of carbon and sulphur. We spent our days and nights within the confines of our homes and offices. But what’s there to complain, right? We have the money, the freedom, fancy malls, state of the art theatres, and those funky pubs. What more do we need, right?
 
Or so I thought, too. Until the day I came across an article talking about an urgent need for having open spaces for recreation in Mumbai. And I thought to myself, when was the last time I escaped this concrete jungle, within the city? When was the last time I went to a park or a playground and just relaxed? When was the last time I saw a bird other than the crows and the pigeons? When was the last time I simply sat under a tree? Sounds obsolete, doesn’t it?
 
The truth is that, it shouldn’t be obsolete. No matter which part of the world we live in, we shouldn’t have to lose touch with nature. We have the right to have open green spaces where we can just hang around after a tiring day or a pleasant weekend morning. Places where we can take our dog out for a walk, hear the birds chatter, bond with our families and friends, and meet new people. Places which aren’t far away from home.
 
According to United Nations, a standard of 9 sq metre open space should be available per person, but Mumbai falls short by 90 per cent. There are spaces in the city which have been allotted as open public space, but are encroached upon by builders, politicians, and slums. But we don’t even realise that somebody else is taking away our rightful property, simply because we don’t know that it belongs to us.
 
And that’s where we came up with the idea for our campaign. We, a group of six Mass Media students from Wilson College, in Mumbai, have started the Soldiers For Open Spaces(SOS), as part of our college project, to create awareness and to demand what’s ours.


Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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