It takes courage to go against the flow, in this case, against the accumulation of tons of waste in and around Turbhe, Navi Mumbai, which is steadily becoming like Deonar of Mumbai.
The army of students, mainly of 9th and 10th standard, equipped with banners and broomsticks, trash cans and trolleys, started from their school at 9 AM and went from street to street cleaning and segregating whatever waste that came in their way. Energetic slogans were raised and reverberated to promote segregation, cleanliness and spread awareness about health and hygiene as well. Hand gloves, nose covers, caps etc for the cleanliness drive were provided by Prayaas, an NGO working on a sustainable environment.
By noon, the following wastes were segregated:
About 30 plastic bottles were stuffed up with non-biodegradable waste like polythene and food wrappers, weighing about 5 Kg. The overall volume reduction achieved was more than 10 times.
To summarize, observing October 2nd at Samta Vidyalaya was an immensely memorable experience for all the volunteers and participants. Swatch Bharat Abhiyan might have ended that day, but for communities that live besides a dumping ground, an annual token service is not enough! As the young volunteers collectively voiced their opinion, they said, “We experienced the hardships and perils that safai karmcharis encounter each and every day and some of us did get fever and illness too! Weakened though we were bodily, our resolution only got strengthened to support the true heroes of Swatchchta, the Safai Karmcharis, who are undertrained, uneducated and underprivileged and often discriminated on the basis of caste. Cleanliness is a technical, managerial and a social problem which requires a holistic solution. It does not make much sense to simply collect all waste and dump them in common dustbin once in a year. The fullest utilization is only possible by careful segregation of source in a scientific manner, at grassroot level and day to day basis, and inculcate the habit of transforming ‘waste’ into valuable materials!”
October 3: The next day all the waste that was segregated was turned into value in the following ways:
Plastic bottles filled with covers were assembled and tightly packed with cellotape to make a rocket launcher shaped flowering stand. It can further be painted to make it even more beautiful.
Now to handle organic waste Stree Mukti Sanghatana were contacted to procure compost bins along with special microbes which aids in fast and odorless composting. The designer and proponent of home composting of Stree Mukti Sanghatna is none other than Padmashri Dr. S. P. Kale, a renowned environmentalist, retired senior scientist from Nuclear Agriculture and Bio Technology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. One large 75 liter basket, fondly known as ‘Jaduchi Khat Tokli’ or magical compost bin, was enough for transferring all the organic waste collected, along with about 3 kg of microbe culture, gently mixed and stirred. To add icing to the cake, neem saplings were planted on top to consume the newly forming manure and grow, thereby making a garden out of all the organic garbage.
And thus began Swatch Turbhe Andolan, not a one day event, but a perennial movement for better environment, which aspires to collaborate with all like-minded scientific, pro-social and environmental groups across the nation to level up Swatch Bharat Abhiyan to Swatch Bharat Andolan!
Guest article contributed by Nikhilesh Iyer (Nisarg)
Want to have initiate local Swatchta Andolan at your place? Contacts of supporters of the movement:
Shatrotan Lal Sharma (Puppeteers for social causes): 9839301782
Article By: Nikhilesh Nisarg