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India At 70 #SwachhIconicPlaces: Puri’s Jagannath Temple Focusses On Plastic Waste Management

During the 140th Rath Yatra this year in July, Puri turned into a plastic-free zone. Here’s how the local bodies worked together with volunteers to make sure that Jagannath’s Rath Yatra is clean and a litter-free affair this time around

New Delhi: The Rath Yatra in Puri, Odisha is world famous, one for its famous Hindu Jagannath Temple and other for the number of devotees it attracts every single year from around the world. This year, around 3 million people gathered to celebrate Rath Yatra in Puri. But, unlike, all the earlier years, the city was well prepared to tackle its waste woes. The city is educating the masses on the importance of plastic waste management. The municipal corporation of Puri along with Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB) has joined hands with the local NGOs to ensure that the festival is clean and litter-free.

Puri generates about 100 tonnes of solid waste every day and a lot of it is the plastic waste, simply because the city attracts a lot of tourists because of the famous Lord Jagannath Temple, and they use plastic pet bottles and other forms of disposable plastic. Anyone who has been to Puri will agree that disposable plastic is one of the most littered items there.

Also Read: Cleaning Up Jagannath Temple As Part Of The Swachh Bharat Campaign

So, How Is Puri Managing Clean and Litter-Free Rath Yatra

Identification Of Spots: In order to change this grim reality and to up its Swachh game, the local bodies first have identified the major tourist spots and have placed volunteers there, who are simply collecting the littered solid waste and segregating it.

We have put Blue and Green bins across the city and along the Rath Yatra route so that devotees have no inconvenience in responsibly discarding used plastic bottles and their waste. Earlier the city only had 60-70 bins and today we have increased the bin number to such an extent that one can see a dustbin within 50 meters, said a senior Municipal Officer of Puri.

Also Read: Divine Intervention: This Bengaluru Temple Has Setup A Perfect Waste Management Model To Deal With Its Daily Waste Problem

Education And Awareness – One Of The Major Activities

Volunteers deployed by Hindustan Coca-Cola and Pepole’s Cultural Center (PECUC), are educating the travellers and devotees at Puri on waste segregation and responsible disposal.

Apart from the main route of Rath Yatra, volunteers are also there at Puri beach to prevent marine litter of plastic.

We are targeting the children and educating them on waste management and why they should opt for waste segregation. As children act as agents of change – we tell them how plastic bottles (PET) can be recycled effectively into T-shirts, jackets, shoes, toys, decorative items, interior decoration materials and many others only if they opt for recycling it and throwing it in the open, said Ajai Kumar, National Head-External Affairs, Hindustan Coca-Cola.

Also Read: This Odisha City’s Swachh Agenda: Ban Plastics & Eradicate Open Defecation

The ultimate aim of the municipal corporation is to make Puri’s Rath Yatra a zero plastic free zone.

We will make sure that all the plastic pet bottles collected during the event are sent for recycling, thereby managing the PET waste in a sustainable manner and converting it from waste to wealth, added the municipal officer of Puri.

Cleaning up Jagannath Temple is also in government’s Swachh Bharat agenda, and as a part of it, the local bodies are leaving no stone unturned in order to maintain the clean status.

The aim is to spread awareness to the tourists regarding the clean and swachh Puri but it is a challenging task. We will need more people to support us to keep this holy city clean, added the municipal officer of Puri.

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