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Case Studies 4
Case Study 4
Dehradun Plastic Mukt Abhiyan
One of the most pressing environmental challenges our society faces today is that of plastic waste management. A lack of appropriate waste management infrastructure coupled with a collective lack of awareness in regards to the detriments of plastic pollution has only served to exacerbate the issue over the past decades. In response to Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s clarion call to phase out single-use plastic products, Nagar Nigam Dehradun and its partner, the Dehradun based not-for-profit organization the Social Development for Communities (SDC) Foundation came together to conceptualize and execute a community driven campaign for waste collection in schools called the ‘Plastic Mukt Abhiyan’ in 2022.Inspired by and operating under the tenets of Swachh Bharat Mission , the Plastic Mukt Abhiyan was initiated with a two-fold agenda; firstly, to sensitize students to the challenges that plastic waste management poses, and secondly to implement a methodology through which tangible results could be achieved. This led Nagar Nigam Dehradun and SDC Foundation to design an awareness, segregation and behavior change driven incentive-based campaign. The Abhiyan focussed on triggering a behavioral change amongst the students to discourage the use of single use plastics and shift to alternative substitutes like cloth bags, bamboo or paper straws, paper cups, bagasse made cutlery, steel/copper water bottles etc.
Designed as a three pronged plastic waste “awareness, segregation and behavior change” program, it nudged and encouraged students and their families to start the practice of waste segregation at a household level. More than 48,224 students of 6th standard and above from 105 Dehradun schools, teachers/staff and their families were involved over a two month period between end of March 2022 to end of May 2022. Main focus of the program was on collection of single use plastic and spreading citizen centric information regarding sustainable waste management practices. ‘Plastic Banks’ were set up in each school to collect the segregated waste from students. A ‘Plastic Sangrakshak’ was appointed by the schools (mostly school Principals), along with ‘Plastic Yodhas’ (Senior Teacher/Staff) and Plastic Prahris (Plastic Class Monitors) to monitor and coordinate the activities of the program. The program became a ‘jan-aandolan’ with participation of 104 Plastic Sangrakshaks, 114 Plastic Yodhas and 1429 Plastic Prahris, who not only segregated and collected the waste but also conducted additional swachhata activities like street rallies, debates and clean ups in their campuses. The segregated and collected plastic was recycled through a chain of Nagar Nigam approved recyclers.
- 2,343 kilograms of single use plastic waste collected
- Close to 1.1 Million chips packets, each weighing approximately 2 grams collected and sent for recycling
- Sensitization of students and their families by being a part of the abhiyan
- Sense of ownership developed among students
- Behaviour change drives
The Plastic Mukt Abhiyan is a classic example of a simple yet innovative citizen engagement exercise towards solid waste management in urban areas. It can be easily replicated in any part of the state/ country.Phase 2 of Plastic Mukt Abhiyan is being designed under support of SBM, Uttarakhand government and authorities from Uttarakhand Board, ICSE/ISC and CBSE Boards to reach all the schools of the city. The second phase will encourage citizen participation in form of ‘Swachhata Sainani’ and enlist minimum one volunteer from each of the 100 wards of the city. In this phase Plastic Banks will be set up in markets, commercial areas, colleges and official establishments. Collected waste will be given at a cost to organisations like CSIR-IIP and others who need plastic waste to fuel plant.
“Previously, I was using plastic bags for shopping, carry bags, etc. After participating in Plastic Mukt Abhiyan, I am using jute bags because I understood that single use plastic is very harmful for environment and also for us. Now no stray animal will die by eating polythene. ”
-Divyanshu Sati, Student, Class 6th
“During Plastic Mukt Abhiyan rally, we went to shop owners and asked them not to use ‘single use plastic’ and informed them about how harmful it is for our environment. We requested them to use paper bags instead.”
-Sifa, Student, Class 7th
“During this course, I came to know many hazardous things happen because of plastic and other waste. Before this I used to throw all waste in single dustbin but now I have two dustbins, one for dry waste and one for wet waste.”
-Abhishek Patwal, Student, Class 9th
“There was a family who used to throw garbage outside their house but I never said anything to them. After participating in this abhiyan, when I saw them throwing garbage outside their house again, I stopped them and asked them to make two dustbins for wet and dry waste. They understood and accepted my suggestion.”
-Sakshi Bisht, Student, Class 10th