With a bartan bank (utensil bank) in place, Sindhora Gram Panchayat in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh becomes the state’s first single use plastic (SUP)-free village. The transition from using plastic to alternatives such as steel and cloth is seen in households, government offices and educational institutions.
According to CEO Zila Panchayat, Ms. Neha Meena, there was initial resistance to curbing the use of SUPs as using plastics was easier. However, with intensive awareness building exercises at various levels, the village community began to gradually give in and switch over to alternatives. “Today the GP is 100% SUP free,” she said.
The 70-day campaign began in the 425-household GP on 2nd October, 2019 with the administration of the sanitation oath during the Gandhi Jayanti ceremony. It was implemented by an all-women team comprising of CEO-ZP, Block Coordinator and members of Self Help Groups (SHGs); and supported by the District Collector, Mr. Lokesh Kumar Jatav.
The event saw the participation of children, women and others from the community who joined together to clean up the village, install dust bins at strategic places, and plant saplings on roadsides and public spaces. Meanwhile, school children carried out awareness rallies and performed nukkad naatak.
In the days that followed, there was a door to door campaign when cloth bags were distributed to homes, asking residents to refrain from using plastic bags. SHGs produced paper bags that could be used at shops instead of plastic carry bags. On her part, the Sarpanch of the GP, Ms. Asha Narain Patidhar collected Rs. one lakh from the village community to support this endeavour. All this was strictly monitored by the district team.
The highlight of what they termed as the ‘Blue Village Campaign’ was the Bartan Bank that showcased and stocked a whole range of utensils that could be borrowed at Rs. one per piece for marriages and other events. With that, marriage ceremonies have become disposal free.
On a regular basis, a garbage truck playing music goes down the lanes and while collecting garbage, advises people to curb use of plastic. Moreover, a haat bazaar displays plastic alternatives that people can use. Every house that commits to banning SUPs is affixed with a logo sticker; to ensure that the family keeps to their commitment.