With an intent to trigger a behavioural change in students, teachers, and families, Dehradun Smart City Limited (DSCL) has come up with an innovative way of tackling its plastic waste issue.
Under its Swachhata Hi Seva campaign launched on 2 September 2019, DCSL has flagged off a month-long initiative called ‘Plastic Wapsi Abhiyaan’ (Return the Plastic).
The campaign saw the wholehearted participation of more than 5,200 school students.
To know more about the initiative, The Better India (TBI) spoke to Dr Ashish Kumar Srivastava, CEO of DSCL and Anoop Nautiyal, Founder of Gati – the citizen engagement partner for the Plastic Wapsi Abhiyaan project.
Plastic Wapsi Abhyaan
“The city of Dehradun is divided into 100 wards and the Smart City project is being implemented in about 10 of them. In these 10 wards, there are 20 government schools that participated in the Plastic Wapsi Abhiyaan,” informs Srivastava.
The team appointed a contact person in each participating school who were given the title of ‘Plastic Yodhas’. Apart from them, the team also appointed a ‘Plastic Prahari’ in each class, bringing the total of the praharis to 168 in all 20 government schools.
The central idea was to have a citizen force that collected plastic waste from multiple sources in their neighborhoods – homes, shops, etc.
“5200 students from class 6 upwards, accepted and participated in this campaign. It would be even right to say that their participation is what kept us all motivated.”
Role of Plastic Prahari and Plastic Yodhas
Each of the 168 ‘Plastic Praharis’ were essentially class monitors responsible for the efficient execution of the campaign and spreading awareness in their neighbourhoods. The ‘Plastic Yodha’ was a member of the school staff who coordinated with DSCL.
These students, over a period of 30 days, collected more than 3 lakh pieces of plastic waste which amounted to 555 kgs. This included toffee wrappers, snack packets, polybags etc. Through the campaign, students learnt waste management and segregation.
The top three students who contributed the maximum towards this campaign include – Saloni, a student of grade 10 from Sanatan Dharm Kanya Inter College who collected 9476 plastic waste pieces. Rosy, a grade 10 student from GGIC, who collected 4250 pieces and Neha, a grade 12 student from CNI Girls Inter School, who collected 4247 pieces.
In terms of the schools that managed to collect the maximum plastic waste – Rakjiy Inter College contributed 45,152 pieces, which totalled to about 38 kgs and Rakjiy Prathmik Vidyalaya collected 10,668, which came to about 9 kgs.
What happened to the Plastic Waste?
“The purpose behind this campaign was two-fold – collect the plastic waste and then recycle it. We joined hands with the Indian Institute of Petroleum who converted the plastic waste into diesel. They have a plant which has the capacity to convert 1,000 kgs of plastic waste into 800 liters of diesel or 700 liters of petrol,” shares Srivastava.
“We have completed an entire cycle in conducting this campaign. Plastics are hydrocarbons that are made from petroleum, and they can be converted back to liquid fuel,” he adds. “We also handed over some of the waste plastic collected to the Nagar Nigam to be used for road construction in the city,” he concludes.
With states across India coming up with their own unique ways of tackling the problem of plastic – this campaign has inspired many students and their families in Dehradun.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)