It is mostly around events like the Earth Day, Environment Day and other such ‘days’ that we get to read or hear more about the need to go ‘Green’. There are full page newspaper advertisements and special TV programmes or NGOs conducting events; all talking about the virtues of recycling and conserving and going green.
One of the common advices during these campaigns is to put up separate bins for organic and recyclable components to manage household waste. You’d probably even have seen them being implemented in the public garbage bins that dot the city. But how often is it that we actually follow this environmentally friendly practice in our own homes? Almost never!
For a change, a group of young citizens have now come up with an initiative to take those advises seriously and also make their neighbours and elders understand the importance of conserving environment.
In order to increase awareness about the importance of recycling household waste the Green Brigade (GB) of Sector 15A of Noida, Uttar Pradesh, in collaboration with the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) and Pom Pom ‘Trash to Cash’ initiative, recently came up with a waste collection drive in the residential areas. Intended to get to the long term goal of reducing the carbon footprint of our lifestyles, the ‘Waste collection drive’ was a small but significant step towards contributing to programmes like Swachh Bharat with a community based initiative.
Consisting of a group of youngsters from as young as 10-years-old to ‘mature’ 18-year-olds, the Green Brigade has quickly become the driving force for the residents of this sector in Noida for environmental conservation.
Vidushi Singhal and Ananya Chaturvedi, the young and spirited co-presidents of the Green Brigade, say that GB started out as an attempt to formalize a group of environmentally conscious youngsters in order to make a bigger impact. From a small band of ‘Green Girls’ the Brigade expanded to include more children from the sector. Today some 30-odd children are a part of this youthful force. The GB is committed to generating awareness among residents about the value that is attached to recycling. All such material like glass, plastic, paper, cardboard and metal in the form of newspapers, empty bottles, aluminium foils, containers and even batteries and old remote controls of electrical gadgets that we normally don’t think about before trashing in the bin, can and must be recycled.
To get the people to coemn around and adapt these practices was not easy. Vidushi says, “We found it challenging to get people to agree to our cause. They thought it was cumbersome to segregate waste. We found that the right methods and strategy can ensure success in almost every field. So despite a minimal response in the beginning, we had the courage to continue which made us into what we are today. Now, people take us more seriously.” The support from the local welfare association, especially the guidance of one resident, Mrs Shalini Lambah, came in handy. It ensured that the Brigade achieved more when it comes to creating awareness among the the residents.
Shalini informs us over an email interview that the RWA and the GB have jointly undertaken several initiatives to get people to become more conscious about how they segregate and dispose off their waste. “Children of the Green Brigade have carried out drives, nukkad nataks, presentations etc. on themes like ‘NO to Plastic Waste’, ‘Waste Segregation at Home’, ‘No wastage of Electricity’ and more. We have also undertaken to educate the children of the servants in the sector on cleanliness of both the self and our environment. We hold workshops every few months for children of the sector, aged 5-15, to talk about environment,” she says. All of these initiatives have provided a major boost to the effort for creating consciousness over environment friendly causes among the residents of Sec-15A.
The reason for a unique waste collection drive held in June 2016 was based on the fact that there was still a huge need for generating awareness among people for environmentally friendly practices. Brigade feels that the process of handing out incentives can push residents to make a beginning that is going to be extremely beneficial in the long run. The collaboration with Pom Pom, a company that provides doorstep solutions for the collection of recyclable items and gives people cash in return for the material they have supplied, is also a step in this direction.
But the work doesn’t stop with this introductory collection drive. In collaboration with the RWA the brigade plans to continue with such endeavours in future too. They have sent out a questionnaire to the residents of the sector to determine the future course of action. Detailing such questions like those about the satisfaction over the current cleanliness status of the sector, possibility of future waste collection drives, prospects of workshops for waste segregation and waste management and more, the survey questionnaire is meant to determine people’s willingness to learn more about contributing to the conservation of the environment with the basic step of waste segregation.
The entire thought process towards working for the environment has been shaken up and new measures are being taken to ensure that everyone becomes a part of this drive. Inderjit Sial, president RWA, tells us about another such proposal, “Aside from creating awareness among the residents of the sector about the importance of waste segregation, we have also started focusing on educating the hired help since they are the ones mostly dealing with waste. This has added to the efficiency when it comes to managing the disposal of waste in the sector.”
The GB and RWA of Sector 15A in Noida have certainly gotten us thinking. But if you are still in doubt about the merits of waste management and recycling, ponder over this fun fact from the circular the Green Brigade sent out – recycling one glass bottle can help run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. Maybe this will convince you to follow in the footsteps of the smart citizens of Noida’s Sec-15A and start your own initiative for a greener and cleaner neighbourhood, if not the entire planet.