- Morbi district generates about 2.5 tonnes of plastic waste every day
- Over 700 kgs of plastic waste is being collected per day under the scheme
- The plastic collected under the scheme is sent for recycling
New Delhi: In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of waste segregation among the residents of Morbi district of Gujarat and to tackle the problem of rising plastic waste, the state’s Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban has launched a pilot project under which people are encouraged to exchange plastic waste for useful household items like chairs, buckets and stool among others. According to Milind Bapna, Mission Director, Gujarat’s Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, the pilot project which was launched on August 1 in collaboration with the Morbi Municipality, will run initially for one month. He said that on completion of the one month, the state government will be extending the project to three more municipalities- Mansa, Kalol and Chotila and ultimately to the whole state.
While talking about the initiative, Mr. Bapna said that the idea behind the project is to motivate people to make waste segregation a practice and also to reduce the carbon footprints of the city. He said,
For the first time we have implemented a programme that involves, people, private plastic waste management agencies and the local government – the Morbi Municipality. With this scheme, we have set a target of achieving zero-plastic footprint in the city of Morbi. Most of the items that people are getting under this pilot project are made from the recycled plastic. We have shared a list of items with the residents which shows what items are eligible to get on submitting a certain amount of plastic waste. For example, for every 2 kgs of plastic pouches like milk packets, the person will get a plastic bucket and on submitting 4 kgs of plastic bottle waste, people can take a plastic chair in exchange.
Mr. Bapana further said that the project has been receiving a good response from the residents and over 700 kgs of plastic waste is being collected every day at the three collection centres set up by Morbi Municipality.
Kajal, a 33-year-old Advocate and a resident of Ward 12 of Morbi, said to NDTV,
The initiative started by the Municipality under the Swachh Bharat Mission is an important step towards making the city free from plastic. There is no doubt that plastic has taken up a major proportion of our day-to-day activities and it is the high time to change this habit. With this initiative, at least in my home and neighbourhood, now people have started storing plastic waste separately and wait till the collect a substantial quantity to exchange it with something more useful. Even single-use plastic items like milk packets that are always thrown away can be stored and exchanged for some other item.
Ilesh Vaghela, State Project Officer (Information, Education and Communication) highlighted that along with the households, the local waste pickers are also visiting the collection centres and submitting the plastic waste collected by them in exchange of a household item. He said,
When sold to the scrap dealers, one kg of plastic waste is exchanged for Rs. 7-10 but under this project, people can get a dustpan worth Rs. 35 for the same quantity of plastic waste. Because of this, the scheme has become quite attractive for households as well as waste pickers.
Mr. Vaghela said that for implementing the project in other cities, the Swachh Bharat Mission Urban Gujarat is planning towards providing coupons for groceries instead of household utility items in exchange for plastic waste. The Mission is currently in the process of tying up with grocery stores for the same.
Mr. Vaghela also said that Morbi civic body is also raising awareness among people to segregate the household bio-medical waste like used masks and gloves, with an aim to contain the spread of COVID-19. He said that while some people have already started storing their medical waste separately, many are still not practising segregation of waste beyond dry and wet waste. The municipality has trained the waste collectors to segregate medical waste at the place of the collection itself which handed over to a private agency for treatment.
According to Mr. Vaghela, the city of Morbi produces about 90 tonnes of waste every day out of which 35 tonnes is dry waste and 55 tonnes is wet waste. The city produces about 2.5 tonnes of plastic waste every day and almost 90 tonnes of plastic waste is recycled every month, he said.
Earlier this year in February, a similar anti-plastic waste initiative was started in Dahod district of Gujarat under which a café was set up in Dahod Tehsil panchayat that provides free snacks and tea in exchange for plastic waste.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.