Wonder where all of Navi Mumbai’s waste goes?

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.


Pic 1: The mountain of Garbage collected from Navi Mumbai close to Samta Vidyalay, Turbhe


(Pic 2: Fire in the garbage mountain, run run run!)
Students of Samta Hindi Vidyalaya, Turbhe initiated a cleanliness drive on October 2nd to make a point that instead of blaming the authorities and municipal corporations, one should first look inwards and set an example to the common citizens of the nearby local community who are the biggest contributors of the growing garbage mountains.

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Pic 3: An overflowing local garbage bin near Samta Vidhyalaya, Turbhe)
Around 200 students were trained by a newly formed Navi Mumbai group called Educators for Equality, under the sub project- Asan Vigyan, on how to handle waste in a scientific manner and on how to safely segregate them, separating plastic out of compostable organic waste so that both the streams can be recycled.

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(Pic 4: Plan of action for waste segregation)
The lessons were demonstrated by ‘Eco-Friendz’, a group of senior students of the same school who are finding ways to implement sustainable ecology and pro-social economy.

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.

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(Pic 5: Hema, a senior of Samta Vidyalaya and among founders of Eco-friendz, promoting
garbage to garden)

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Cleanliness Drive at Samta Vidyalay

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Pic12: Segregated plastic waste, stuffed up in bottles for recycling)
Thermocol waste was dissolved in acetone to dramatically reduce its volume by 50 times and to reuse the moldable plastic to make small decorative pieces.
(Pic 12: Thermocols instantly dissolved by acetone to get a moldable plastic dough)

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(Pics 14-18: Puppet show performance by Shri Shartrotan Verma and Shri Vipin Verma)

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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 wasteinto valuable materials!

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(Pic-19 Plastic bottles packed with cellotape to make flower stands)
Thermocol waste of about 1 cubic meter volume was reduced to just 2 bottles of moldable plastic using acetone

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.

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(Pic-20: Moldable plastic that hardens on exposure to air, can be used to make
plastic containers and crafts)

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(Pic -21: Eco-Friendz Deependra, Hema and Deepak watering Neem trees planted over organic compost bin)

     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:

Asan Vigyan: asanvigyan.in (A collaborative non zero sum game approach to education, nikhilesh.iyer@gmail.com)

Educators for equality: edufe.org (Achieving equality through education)

Annihilation of Caste: annihilationofcaste.in : A movement towards right to equality

Shatrotan Lal Sharma (Puppeteers for social causes): 9839301782

Bio composting bin from Stree Mukti Sanghatana ( http://streemuktisanghatana.org ): Seema Kisane (9987922547)

Article By: Nikhilesh Nisarg

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