Students in Dehradun Fight Single-Use Plastic with ‘Plastic Wapsi Abhiyan’
India generates a worrisome amount of 26,000 tons of plastic waste every day. With its harmful impacts on human beings, wildlife, and environment at large, the government’s ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ (SHS) campaign aims at large scale collection and recycling of plastic waste.
To eradicate the plastic waste, the Dehradun Smart City Limited (DSCL) came up with quite an unusual and community-centric way. DSCL initiated an extensive one-month drive dubbed “Plastic Wapsi Abhiyan” (Return the plastic) in about 20 government schools. The campaign was held between September 2 and October 2.
Plastic Wapsi Abhiyan
The campaign included over 5,000 students and 100 teachers. The aim was to prompt a behavioural change in the students towards the use of single-use of plastic and teach segregation and plastic waste management. The students collected 555 kg of plastic waste comprising more than 3 lakh pieces of single-use plastic items including wrappers, polybags, and pouches etc.
The collected plastic waste was segregated in two categories of recyclable (polybags, disposables etc.) and non-recyclable plastic waste (wrappers and snack packets etc.). A total of 555 kg including 252 kg of recyclable and 333 kg non-recyclable plastic waste was collected during the one-month long drive.
The students were also made aware of low-cost and sustainable green alternatives to single-use plastic such as jute bags, paper cups, bagasse-based cutlery options, steel or copper bottles etc. the students were also taught to stitch bags from cloth pieces at home and promote the concept of upcycling.
DSCL also created 168 Plastic Praharis and 20 Plastic Yoddhas. Plastic Praharis were basically class monitors from each class of the school responsible for executing the campaign and spreading awareness in the neighbourhoods. Plastic Yoddhas were the teachers appointed from each school for coordinating and monitoring the campaign in collaboration with DSCL.
Disposal of Plastic Waste
The campaign was completed with the help of a Dehradun-based environment action and advocacy group, Gati Foundation, a Social Technology Partner of the India Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun. The foundation assists in executing and monitoring a comprehensive, community-based plastic waste collection system. DSCL and Gati sent 252 kg of recyclable plastic waste to the IIP for scientific disposal. The remaining plastic waste was handed over to Dehradun Municipal Corporation to be used in road construction.
The IIP has developed an environmentally- friendly technology that can convert plastic waste to fuel. This pioneering tech can convert 1000 kg of plastic waste to 800 litres of diesel or 7000 litres of petrol. Although the technology is in its nascent stage, it can use all types of plastic except multi-layer plastic used for packing snacks and chips, tetra packs and PET bottles.
However, technology has strong potential with the Centre planning to build such plants in almost 100 cities in the next phase.
The escalating plastic pollution is not only a threat to human beings but all other living species and the environment at large. Eliminating the use of single-use plastic and adopting eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives has become more crucial to protect the planet and all those living on it from the hazardous effects of plastic.
Via: Citizen Matters