Launched in April 2008, the NDTV-Toyota Green campaign was India’s first ever-nationwide campaign to save the environment. The campaign is aimed at creating awareness about environmental issues by involving the people of our country to make a difference.
As part of this environment campaign, NDTV organised India’s first Telethon in 2009 – The Greenathon, a 24-hour live fund-raising event that brought together people to donate money to support TERI’s Lighting a Billion Lives initiative which aims at providing solar power to villages without electricity.
The Greenathon, simulcast across the NDTV network, is a combination of musical extravaganza, live chats with celebrities, simultaneous green activities across India, reports on environment and green pledges by celebrities, politicians and the common man.
There were many simultaneous 24-hour activities conducted across India as part of the Greenathon 1. There was a 24-hour Green marathon held in Mumbai, Delhi saw the filthy Yamuna being cleaned up in a 24-hour clean-up drive and in Pondicherry students of St. Patrick School participated in a 24-hour Quizathon for environment. A 12-hour beach clean-up drive was also held in Mumbai. The Greenathon received an overwhelming response from India’s leading corporates, top Bollywood stars, musicians, environmentalists, NGOs and educational institutions who supported the cause by participating in various activities.
India's legendary classical musicians and Bollywood entertained the nation as people reached into their pockets to support the cause and money poured in through SMS, phone calls, cheques and online donations. The Greenathon went on to become a 25-hour live event bringing everyone together from across the world to take the green pledge and adopt villages, helping raise over Rs 2.4 crore in pledges. Some of the generous donors for the campaign were Shilpa Shetty, Shahrukh Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Sanjay Dutt, Preity Zinta, Nokia, Coca-Cola and, Aarav, son of actor Akshay Kumar.
Greenathon 2 had the entire nation abuzz with green activities for the entire 24 hours. Paresh Maity created a stunning painting for the green cause on the sets of Greenathon 2. There was a Green Mela in Delhi where mural wall paintings and sapling takeaways were the highlights. The Mumbai Eco Fest had hordes of celebrities cycle the Electric Pedal and erect art installations from collected waste materials.
Marathon Man Milind Soman also ran 100 km in 24 hours passing through some of the famous landmarks of Mumbai city. Clean-up drives at the Elliott Beach in Chennai, Dal Lake in Srinagar and Gomti River in Lucknow; Tree plantation and sapling giveaway drives in Bangalore and Hyderabad were the other major highlights of this countrywide campaign. Chief Ministers of different states, environmentally conscious people from India and across the world came forward to take the green pledge.
Greenathon 2 received an overwhelming response from Bollywood stars, corporates and the common man to raise Rs. 3.92 crore in pledges. Some of the generous donors for Greenathon 2 were: Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Ranbir Kapoor; Arshad Warsi, Dia Mirza, Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Rahul Bose, Riteish Deshmukh, Voltas, CII, Nokia, Jaypee Infratech and Galaxy Toyota.
As India played host to World Environment Day, the NDTV-Toyota Greenathon 3 enthusiastically participated in the movement, by involving millions of people from across the globe in building an environment conscious society. In its third edition, the NDTV-Toyota Greenathon was bigger and greener as it expanded its reach internationally, with Greenathon hubs in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Toronto, London and Sydney. It received an overwhelming response and garnered support from all corners of the world, including the country’s leading corporate houses, top Bollywood stars, musicians, environmentalists, NGOs and educational institutions.
The NDTV-Toyota Greenathon 3 raised over Rs 11 crore in pledges. Some of the generous supporters of the campaign with both their time and donations were Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Shahid Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Karan Johar, Dia Mirza, Lara Dutta, Gulzar, Shabana Azmi, Rahul Bose, Vivek Oberoi, Usha Uthup, Jassi, Richa Sharma, KK and actor Milind Soman ran 550 km in 15 days to raise awareness for the environment. Also supporting the Greenathon were Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Dr Farooq Abdullah, Minister for New and Renewable Energy.
The 4th edition of NDTV’s flagship environment campaign, the NDTV-Toyota Greenathon, a fundraiser for the environment was held on 20th May 2012.
In addition to fundraising, this year the focus was on recycling waste, especially plastic, along with encouraging everyone to keep their immediate environment clean. Greenathon 4 was launched with a ‘Clean the Yamuna’ drive on the banks of the Taj Mahal in Agra with the campaign ambassador Priyanka Chopra highlighting the issue of plastic and other waste choking the country and the need to reduce and recycle. This was followed by a month long awareness drive with waste-related and other innovative environment programming across the NDTV network leading up to the telethon.
The Greenathon 4 was broadcast live for 12 hours across the NDTV network and raised funds to support The Energy & Resources Institute’s - “Lighting a Billion Lives” initiative which solar powers rural villages in India.In keeping with the green theme this year the set of the telethon was made of recyclable products such as light bulbs, cardboard boxes, tin boxes, used newspapers, plastic bottles, paper plates, etc.
Joining the grand celebrations of Greenathon 4 were a galaxy of film personalities, celebrity chefs, composers and singers, Chief Ministers, Members of Parliament, the Corporate world, school children and citizens from around the country.
Once again supporting this Green Initiative and raising awareness about the environment, Actor Milind Soman started his 1500 km Green Run on April 20, running from the Qutub Minar in New Delhi, across 5 states and ending his Green Run today at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai. Milind’s 1500 km run in 30 days has been recognized as a World Record by the Limca Book of Records, which is a milestone for NDTV-Toyota Greenathon 4’s environmental awareness campaign. Limca recognized his challenging feat during the gala programme.
In an attempt to mobilise a mass movement, plastic/recyclable waste collection centres, supported by Tetra Pak and Attero, were set up across New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Phagwara (Punjab), Dharamshala and Nainital. People across these cities came out and participated in the recycling drive by depositing their recyclable waste from plastic (bags and bottles), metal, paper, Tetrapak cartons to e-waste like old phones, computers etc.
NDTV-Toyota Greenathon 4 saw Rs. 8.89 crore being raised to benefit 508 villages. Since its launch in 2008 The Greenathon Campaign has already funded solar lanterns for over 600 villages benefitting thousands of households.