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Unique initiative to reduce plastic waste

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By ASISH GARG 

DEHRADUN, 22 May: Dehradun ranks dismally at 259 rank in the ‘Swacch Sarvekshan Survey’ as per last results declared by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. At present, more than 350 MT of mixed waste is being collected by Nagar Nigam vehicles and transported to Shishambara, a landfill site in Selaqui, causing serious damage to agricultural land and polluting ground water and nearby rivers. There are also omnipresent piles of garbage mixed with harmful plastics and polythene all across the city giving a pathetic look. This waste may also be seen burning at many places. Many strays are swallowing this garbage with food waste disposed by many residents, sadly infecting them with various diseases and also death sometimes.

Though primarily Door to Door collection of waste is being done by Nagar Nigam but it also entrusts additional responsibilities on citizens for carrying out their part to protect the environment by proper segregation of waste at their homes. Segregation of waste at source, neglected hitherto, is a highly essential activity for any effective waste management of city. Since, Segregation in every household at present is happening at very low level, Eco Group, Kewal Vihar, Dehradun, has taken the initiative by appealing to its residents through a door to door campaign and motivating them to segregate waste. Around 40% waste by volume contains plastic and, hence, if segregated would not only reduce the outward waste from each premises but reduce land, water and air pollution, too, and protect animals, wildlife and marine life, With this in mind, around 70% of its residents have been segregating waste at source and disposing it for proper recycling for which Dehradun Smart City Limited awarded Kewal Vihar as ‘No. 1 cleanest colony of Doon’ in first ever survey conducted in 2019.

The Eco Group further initiated an innovative approach to reducing and easy disposal of plastic waste. It motivated many residents of Doon by launching a campaign to squeeze and compact plastic packaging into plastic bottles. This unique methodology not only solves storage problems but is also very convenient and efficient to transport plastic waste. We must have seen how relatively a small weight of plastic waste occupies huge volume in trucks and also gets spilled over roads due to transport.

Motivated with the idea of compacting waste, Navneet Gairola, Theatre artist and Doordarshan anchor, gives credit to Eco Group for this simple idea. “I am doing my bit to prevent scattering of plastic waste in the serene environment of Doon. Inspiration from Eco Group,” says Manish Dubey, an educationist in UPES.

Naman, a child of 4 years residing in DS colony is collecting his home plastic waste in glass bottle and proudly displays for his outstanding effort to save an erstwhile river turned into nala flowing near his house. Naman has taken up this challenge and has started filling up plastic waste from his home into the plastic bottles. He plans to do it many times along with his friends till this stream is clean.

Krishan Mohan, a senior citizen residing in Kewal Vihar has utilised the lockdown period to start his contribution to protect environment and gives credit to Waste Warriors and Eco Group for waste management in the colony.

Eco Group members have collected around 5-6 months of plastic waste into around 50 bottles. This would now be used in small construction projects by replacing conventional bricks. These collected bottles with plastic waste have huge potential for using in top bituminous layer of roads for which PWD is being approached.
One can imagine what degradation this would have caused to serene land, air and rivers, had these had been dumped into dustbin as mixed waste.

Eco Group has also launched ‘Bring Plastic, Eat food’ campaigns to distribute food in lieu of these plastic filled bottles from poor which has proven highly successful.

Eco Group requests through Garhwal Post all to follow this unique and simple approach so that less and less plastic waste is generated from households.