New Delhi: This International Women’s Day, we look at some of the women achievers of India who are fighting for the swachh cause and don’t shy away from being vocal about issues, be it plastic pollution or menstrual hygiene. Some are imbibing zero waste policy, cutting down on plastic consumption and are using various forums to spread awareness. Here are five such women who have lent their voices to advocate for a cleaner and heathier India.
Actress and now Goodwill Ambassador of United Nations Environment Programme, Dia Mirza has been a long-standing supporter of environmental causes and India’s biggest campaign – the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. From guiding people on why they need to make a toilet at home to motivating them to practice waste segregation, fight plastic menace in the country by giving up plastic items and how people can help beat air pollution, the actor has done it all. In fact, she is one of the few, who have set an example by practising what she is preaching.
The actor is known for making her resident apartment zero waste, currently, four composting bins have been installed in her society and the members are expected to segregate their own waste on daily and deposit the waste in the bins installed within the complex instead of handing it to the civic body. Following this simple steps, by the end of the month, 21 families living in the society are able to save around 600 kilos of waste.
Apart from that, she has started a war against plastic. Dia has already replaced plastic items from her life like toothbrush, plastic bottles. Not just that, she has also asked her colleagues in the industry and her fans to give up using one time use plastic items like straws, plastic bottles, cups, bags and glasses completely.
Apart from all this, Dia Mirza also cleaned the Juhu Beach after Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations just to put her point across to Mumbaikars on why they need to start celebrating the biggest festival in the city in a greener and cleaner way.
Miss World 2017 Manushi Chillar’s efforts to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene in the country through her campaign Project Shakti started even before she became Miss World. The 20-year-old’s Project Shakti had already covered more than 20 villages in India by the time she became a beauty queen.
What Manushi did was simple; she went to places and educated the people on why it is important for a woman to follow good menstrual hygiene practices. Apart from education, Manushi also provided women with eco-friendly sanitary napkins and guided them to always opt for safer and environmental friendly options.
Today, she is using the Miss World platform, to take her campaign global. Manushi has already covered seven cities in India and is now covering different continents of the world. Through this global tour, Manushi aims to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene and motivate people from different walks of life to come forward and provide a sustainable model for good menstrual management.
For her efforts, Manushi has got thumbs up from Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and from Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar, from where Manushi belongs.
Manushi’s ultimate dream is for an India where each and every woman has access to sanitary napkins and using the platform she has to fulfill this dream.
For actor Richa Chadha, mission swachhta goes everywhere. She has one thumb rule – no one should use plastic on sets and after pack up, team needs to clean the area thoroughly.
While shooting for her film Masaan, Richa had given a statement saying, “Mission swachh is a very positive campaign. And every one needs to do their bit in whatever way they can to contribute towards a cleaner and greener India.”
During Diwali, Richa Chadha also came out with a rap song to teach people of India why they should not opt for bursting crackers and instead opt for a green Diwali. The song talked about other things that one can ‘burst’ instead of crackers, from bursting a pimple to balloon, stereotypes, bubble or a long-hauled myth, the rap suggested various alternatives.
Pankaja Gopinath Munde
Minister for Rural, Women and Child Development of Maharashtra, Pankaja Gopinath Munde has been working in the field of empowering women. Recently, Pankaja Gopinath Munde announced Asmita Yojana scheme in Maharashtra, under which rural school girls will be provided sanitary napkin packet at Rs 5 while rural women can avail it at a subsidised rate of ₹ 24 and ₹ 29.
The scheme will be launched formally on March 8, the International Women’s Day by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar.
Rs 3 crore has been allocated for this entire scheme and it is being implemented by the Rural Development Department under the Maharashtra State Rural Jivonnati Campaign with the Additional Director of Family Welfare Department functioning as the Nodal Officer.
A mobile app and a web portal has also been launched under the same scheme.
Kalki Koechlin has lent her support and joined many campaigns with eco-friendly agenda – be it the #PadMan challenge or Valentine’s Day. The actor on Valentine’s Day posted a photo of herself with a message – ‘Broke up with my toxic ex, plastic, and working on my sustainable relationship with stainless steel’. This was part of the ‘Break-Up’ brigade, an initiative that was started by actor Dia Mirza and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ahead of Valentine’s Day, in a bid to address the global challenge of plastic pollution that is chocking our planet and oceans.
Few days prior to that when the #PadMan challenge was making rounds of social media, Kalki posted photo of herself with a reusable, eco-friendly cotton sanitary pad. The #PadManChallenge was initiated by India’s real PadMan – Arunachalam Muruganantham, who gave India its first ever low-cost sanitary pads making machine 14 years ago to break the silence around menstruation.
Not just that, the actor has been known for being vocal in her protest against the 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax on sanitary napkins. She through a quirky video called GST aka ‘Girls Ko Satao Tax’ posed questions like: ‘Why, for a process as natural as the sun rising and setting, do women still have to pay a tax of 12 percent, especially when commodities like condoms come tax-free?’