New Delhi: Diwali with a difference should be everyone’s motto this year. One of the most beautiful festivals, the lights, the diyas, the candles, the crackers, the gifts, the sweets, the very things that make Diwali special are now under scrutiny. The lights add to the carbon footprint, the crackers and candles to air pollution, the gifts further accelerate the plastic disposal woes and sweets are a cause of diabetes! But what is Diwali without these. So to retain the festive spirit of Diwali give everything that makes it special a green touch. Replace lights with diyas and not just any diyas. Go for organic diyas that are not just made from eco-friendly materials but do not use water in its production and also do not discharge carbon dioxide when used. Ditto for crackers, go for crackers that are low on pollutants and noise levels as the Supreme Court guidelines suggest. But apart from the celebrations the lead up to Diwali is also marked by a general spring cleaning of the surroundings. And this cleanliness drive of the household generates quite a bit of waste, especially paper waste. And you can even turn this waste green!
Sudha Singh, founder of Wasteroots, a Noida based organisation working towards waste management, in collaboration with Select CityWalk shopping centre in Saket has organised a week long campaign ‘Green Wali Diwali’ wherein anyone can drop a minimum of five kgs of paper waste and take home a plant. Giving out details of the same to NDTV, Sudha says,
At Select CityWalk we have setup a kiosk where in people can drop their paper waste anytime between 10 AM – 9 PM. Depending on the amount of waste, an individual will get a potted plant.
An individual bringing in five to 10 kgs of paper waste will get a regular golden pothos plant, which is known for its air purifying properties. While someone bringing in 10 – 15 kgs of paper waste can take home a plant with small ceramic pot, a local dropping more than 15 kgs of paper waste will get a medium size ceramic pot alongwith the plant.
The more the amount of paper waste, the more plants an individual can take home. For instance, if you bring in 50 kgs of waste, you might get five plants. Also, those who cannot come to the shopping center can request for doorstep pickup, tells Sudha.
In addition to this, for every 50 kgs of paper waste collected, Wasteroots along with Select CityWalk will plant a tree. Trees like mango, neem, peepal and others will be planted in Noida sector 122 area where number of apartments is inversely proportional to number of trees. The team aims to plant 100 trees this Diwali.
The green drive that started on October 29 will continue until November 4. It is the sixth day of the campaign and Sudha has already collected whopping 4,500 tonnes of paper waste, courtesy schools motivating students to participate in huge numbers.
To enlighten school children about the initiative, on October 31 a small competition was organised among students on which school will contribute the most. The competition made students address questions like, ‘Why you are doing this?’, ‘Why we are cutting trees?’, ‘How planting saplings will help in combating air pollution?’ Amongst all the schools that participated, Delhi Public School International in Saket contributed 1,200 kgs of paper waste.
Talking about the idea behind the green waste management initiative, Sudha says,
Our motive is to create awareness among school children as they are the torch bearer and the future of the country. If they will be educated about green deeds and waste management, they will practice it and take the message forward. Also, Diwali is the time when people clean their houses and take out the waste. With this campaign, we aim to make them handle one waste at a time and step forward towards leading a green life.
The collected waste will be sent to paper mills for the purpose of recycling. Urging people to make the country clean and green, the waste warrior signs off with a message,
Plant more, segregate more, and recycle more.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.