Trash­ing Waste

India Today - - SAFAI GIRI - —Sukant Deepak

Waste War­riors

When Av­inash Pratap Singh, 26, started notic­ing trash piles in pris­tine moun­tain trails, forests and river­banks, he knew some­thing had to be done to re­verse this eco­log­i­cal eclipse. Start­ing as a vol­un­teer with Waste War­riors (head­quar­tered in Dehradun, Ut­tarak­hand), Singh now leads it as its chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer. He feels their ef­forts in the ur­ban ar­eas of Dehradun, the moun­tain­ous ter­rain of Dharamshal­a (Hi­machal Pradesh) and forested vil­lages around Jim Cor­bett Na­tional Park in Ut­tarak­hand are pay­ing off.

“In­no­va­tive part­ner­ships, com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion with state agen­cies has had an ef­fect. Peo­ple have be­gun un­der­stand­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween re­cy­clables and non-re­cy­clables and how to com­post their food waste at home,” says Singh about Waste War­riors, which has col­lected over 733 tonnes of re­cy­clables and saved 1,805 trees so far. He says the big­gest chal­lenge is the to­tal lack of pub­lic aware­ness about waste man­age­ment.

Asked how lit­ter­ing can be made a thing of the past, the avid trekker says, “First, en­rol a large fleet of com­part­mented pick-up trucks along with trained mu­nic­i­pal work­ers, and im­ple­ment door-to-door col­lec­tion of seg­re­gated waste ward by ward in or­der to min­imise dump­ing of house­hold waste on the streets. What is also re­quired is mu­nic­i­pal mon­i­tor­ing and en­force­ment pa­trol teams whose sole re­spon­si­bil­ity should be to iden­tify dump­ing sites and violators.”

Singh says for most of the peo­ple his 24 Green War­riors in­ter­act with, the big­ger waste man­age­ment pic­ture is of­ten hard to grasp, given the huge data points one is ex­posed to and the fact that the chain of re­cy­cling is quite hid­den from the pub­lic eye. “When our aware­ness teams teach peo­ple what they can do in their own lit­tle way, the learn­ing process helps them to be­gin re­build­ing that con­nec­tion,” he says.

Singh says that in the near fu­ture, Waste War­riors aims to in­crease pub­lic aware­ness and prove that it is pos­si­ble to en­gage with the ad­min­is­tra­tion and cre­ate pos­i­tive re­sults.

BROOM TIMES Av­inash Pratap Singh at a project site in Dehradun

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