Sonbhadra launches unique PWM campaign

On 6th June 2022, more than 500 households of the Semar Gram Panchayat (GP) gathered at the village centre for the launch of Mera Plastic, Meri Zimmedari (My Plastic, My Responsibility) – a campaign that would effectively manage plastic waste and curb the use of single use plastics, under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) campaign.

All households were given large jute or plastic sacks with the campaign title printed on it, to hang on the outer wall of their homes.  Over the month, they were required to put into the bag hanging outside, all kinds of plastic items (carry bags, cartons, wrappers, bottles, boxes, etc) that were to be discarded.  Between 25th and 31st of every month, a safai karmi (sanitation worker) would collect the same and take it to a central point in the Block, from where it would be sent to the Ultra Tech Cement Factory located in the district.

This would be a temporary arrangement, even as plans are afoot for construction of Plastic Waste Management Units in every block of the district.

As in other places within the country, plastic has been a huge menace in the district.  It was littered everywhere, blocking drains, floating in water bodies and contaminating them, piling up on roadsides, inviting stray animals to forage through them and endangering their lives.

It was to address this that the campaign was launched by Mr. Chandra Vijay Singh, District Magistrate – Sonbhadra on June 6, 2022 in the Semar Gram Panchayat of Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh. 

Objectives of the campaign:

  • By collecting plastic at home, plastic will not spread into the open, thereby keeping the environment clean
  • Plastic that is littered out in the open will also be collected during the campaign
  • The campaign will lead to plastic-free gram panchayats

Initially, the sacks were given to 200 families and more than 30 Pradhans.  The DM also enlisted the support of public representatives, which helped publicise the campaign more rapidly across the rural areas.  In support of the campaign, all the 4 MLAs of the district and the Minister of State from the district hung sacks at their homes, and appealed to the people to keep their plastic in the plastic sacks provided. Further, a group of ministers, including Shri Rakesh Sachan and Shri Ravindra Jaiswal, who went on an inspection of the district, encouraged people to join the campaign.

The sacks were hung outside each home by the Village Pradhans, Panchayat Secretaries and Safai Karmis who appealed to the people to deposit their plastic into them.

According to Mr. Vishal Singh, District Panchayat Raj Officer, as many as 2,73,020 households from 629 GPs have sacks hung outside their homes.  Further, 1128 kgs of plastic waste were collected on 20th June; 768 kgs on 22nd June; and 660 kgs on 24th June, making a total of 2556 kgs of plastic collected from as many as 89258 households.  In due course, efforts will be made to ensure that all people deposit their plastic at a specified place for collection on the same dates.

The campaign involved all safai karmis while households were informed of the process for plastic waste collection. 

Inputs: Mr. Anil Keshari, District Consultant, Sonbhadra

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