Feeling disappointed and humiliated knowing the fact that many girls in India have to leave their education simply because they don’t have access to as basic a thing as toilets, 12-year old Monidrita Chatterjee started a crusade in Jamshedpur by saving every penny she could, including the money that she could have splurged during festivals, just to build toilets for girls. In 2016, this little swachh warrior saved Rs. 24,000 and built two toilets for the children of Kendradhi village. And since then there has been no looking back. Monidrita sparked a mini-revolution which shows no signs of slowing down. So far, she along with her parents have successfully built more than 6 toilets in different parts of the city and her plan is to slowly and steadily include each and every one in this fight for toilets.
Her eventual aim is to make Jharkhand open defecation free as soon as possible and for this every now and then she is taking up projects in different parts of the state. However, this time Monidrita went a step beyond just sanitation. On Monidrita’s agenda is to make two toilets in Hurlung locality of Jamshedpur, before Environment Day (June 5) that will be made out of plastic bottle waste .
I was looking for a new toilet projects and that’s when I came across the area – Manav Vikas High School in Hurlung locality which includes approximately 65% of girls. Initially, I was planning to build conventional toilets only, but, when I saw a project on YouTube by IIT Chennai students where they have made a plastic wall from the waste created by PET bottles, I thought, I should also try my hands on something as innovative as that, explains Monidrita who is a student of Class VII in Hill Top school, Jamshedpur.
Currently, India generates around 56 lakh tonnes of plastic waste annually, and there are some 300 million girls in India who do not have access to toilets – grim enough statistics for Monidrita to think up of a way to take on two critical issues at one go, make toilets from plastic waste.
We will be creating walls and doors made of plastic bottles and sly ash. Sly ash is a type of industrial waste and it is being provided to us by Tata Steel Company. Instead of bricks, PET bottles will be used, they are 10 times stronger and are earthquake-resistant as well. Rest of the process will remain same when it comes to building a toilet. This type of toilet is definitely more environment friendly; imagine we will be free from 3,000 plastic bottles waste that will take some 30,000 years to decompose, says Monidrita.
Till, now she has saved around 3,000 plastic bottles in order to make the two toilets. The aim is to change the fate of less privileged girls and raise awareness about recycling.
First, I approached my locality and asked people to start saving plastic bottles instead of dumping them in the dustbin. Then, I started the collection, till now I have collected 3,000 bottles and I will continue to save more and more for the better future of our environment. By this mission, I want to pass on the message of ‘Opt For Recycling,’ I hope I will be able to do it efficiently, said Monidrita.
Recognition For Swachh Efforts
Mondrita’s efforts have also been felicitated by the state government and was awarded ‘Sanitation Champion’ certificate in recognition for her contribution to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. She is also the brand ambassador of Swachh Bharat campaign in Jamshedpur area.
I hope people will be moved by this little girl’s swachh efforts. She has created a mini-revolution, I just hope more and more people join this swachhta abhiyan and make this dream of a 12 year’s old come true. Currently, Jamshedpur is grappling with two major issues, disposal of sly ash waste and plastic waste, but thanks to Monidrita we soon will have solutions to deal with both of these problems. Once, these toilets roll out, we will see the progress and if these are successful then we will aim to make more and more toilets out of plastic bottle waste, said Sanjay Pandey Kumar, District Collector, CMO, Jamshedpur.
Jharkhand’s Swachh Report
According to the government reports, Jharkhand is the worst performing state under the Swacch Bharat Mission as only 23% households in the state use toilets. Not only that, the state has seen a mere increase of two per cent over the past 15 years.
The need of the hour is to have more Swachh Warriors like Mondrita, as together they can change the fate of India.
This is my way to do something in order to fulfill the dream of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India clean by 2019. Swachh India is not only about making toilets, keeping roads clean, it also requires a change of habits and mindsets. There are 1,000 ways how people can involve themselves for the cause of Swachhta, I urge people to just take that crucial step, signs off Monidrita Chatterjee.
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