When it comes to waste management in India, there is little knowledge about how to do it. But Sanjeeta Singh Negi and Piyush Shah, both in their fifties, have pledged to create awareness in an innovative way among the masses.
The duo cycled for 10 days from Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, to reach Rajghat in Delhi. From January 2 to January 11, they cycled about 100 km everyday, halting at places where they could conduct programmes to talk about effective ways to manage waste.
Sanjeeta believes in recycling and reducing waste herself, instead of depending on waste pickers.
Although the two faced some problems during their 10-day journey — traffic, undulating hills, tire punctures, and cold wind — it did not discourage them in any way. They were on a mission, and their message was simple: segregate waste at the source using two bins (dry waste and wet waste). Dry waste must be given to waste pickers, and kitchen waste should be turned into manure through the method of composting.
The two enthusiasts insist that there is no need to throw out every single thing that appears to be waste or junk, and here’s what they strongly advocate: The process of recycling is an effective alternative, rather than dumping the waste outside homes. Almost 70 percent of the total household waste comes from the kitchen, hence, turning kitchen waste into manure is a much better option.
Dry leaves help in the compost process, which is an added benefit to the environment. Also, composters are available, which makes the process of composting much easier.
Sanjeeta and Piyush received an overwhelming response from people after their talks and discussions at different stops during their journey. For example, the municipality of Himmatnagar was so impressed by their solutions for solid waste management, it vowed to follow the exact process.
The two visited also visited schools like Green Apple Public School in Himmatnagar and Maharan Mewar Public School in Udaipur and spoke to the students on the subject. They even tried to raise awareness at corporate bodies like ESS KAY FINCORP Private Limited and Pernod Ricard India Private Limited.
A positive mindset and the thirst to bring about a change in society is what drove the duo to set out on their awe-inspiring journey.
Depending on ourselves to do something easy is so much better than leaving it on others, they say. The two are still on a mission: to spread their story to the youth and make India more knowledgeable about proper waste management.
(Written by Sudeshna Dutta)