Palaj, Gandhinagar: As India gears up to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) continues to extend handholding support to the villagers of its neighbouring Basan village, to take baby steps towards cleanliness under the ‘Swacchta hi Seva’ campaign.
The institute had earlier conducted various awareness activities with children in primary school of Basan, followed by many counselling sessions with village leaders, men and women. They were educated about Solid Waste Management (SWM), wet and dry waste, hazards of plastic waste, and importance of cleanliness through posters and live demo activities of waste segregation. The team members of IITGN SWM team also oriented school and village’s cleanliness workers about waste segregation practices.
Besides, the IITGN SWM team also put up pictorial awareness posters about waste segregation in major public spots in the entire village to reinforce the message in the minds of the villagers. The institute also donated wet and dry waste dustbins to primary school to help inculcate waste segregation practice in young minds. They installed cleaned and recycled lab material containers as dustbins outside most of the shops in the village and motivated the shopkeepers to encourage villagers to use those dustbins to discard their dry waste, which is later collected by the waste collection vans. Awareness messages are put up outside shops to discourage use of plastic bags.
Regular awareness activities and monitoring done by the institute supported team members have started showing results and the villagers now understand the cause. Many of them use dustbins outside shops to discard dry waste, many of them have started to give their wet and dry waste separately to waste collection vans.
School children are the most sensitised about waste segregation. Vishwa Desai, a 7th standard student in Basan primary school was quick to share their practice and said, “We regularly use two different dustbins provided to our class and discard our paper and plastic waste separately so that it can be recycled.”
Raghunath Desai, a shopkeeper in the Basan village said, “After IITGN put their dustbin with a poster for using it for dry waste, we have kept two more dustbins outside our shop. We started asking people to use these dustbins and many have started doing so. Cleanliness brings good health.”
Mrs Nupur Tandon, Solid Waste Consultant for the IITGN Green Office, shares her experience and challenges in bringing change in people’s behaviour, “It is a long challenging journey, but we are taking one step at a time as I believe we need to invest in people to tackle any social issue. We started this initiative with Basan primary school about a year back and expanded it to reach out to the entire village. We are happy that people have started understanding and we can see many of them putting it into practice. We will continue our work and contribute for the Swachchh Bharat Mission.”