In the coming year, when students in city colleges toss something into the bin, they will have to make an informed choice. Which of the four bins does the waste belong in: paper, plastic, organic waste or some other kind?
A project by students of Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research on Sunday won at Munijan, the Mumbai University competition for affiliated B-school students where teams come up with sustainable and practical ideas to specific problems.
The objective of Munijan is to bring positive changes in the society at large by involving students in a series of constructive socially responsible activities based on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. The winning project is then implemented by 6,500 students in colleges affiliated to the university.
Team Prayas, from Welingkar, tackled the issue of garbage disposal, proposing proper waste segregation by type, then selling the paper and plastic waste and using the money to buy education materials for civic schools.
"Segregation is not a new idea, everyone thinks about it, so we thought why not do it?" said Anjani Bansal, member of the winning team. This year, 90 teams sent in proposals, after which 10 were shortlisted and presented before a panel of judges at the university on Sunday. "We had a really tough time selecting a winner as most projects had optimism and confidence," said Puja Marwaha, chief executive at CRY, one of the five judges.
The winning team will ask the university to negotiate with recyclers, ensure that colleges arrange for bins and set up college-level committees to ensure proper disposal. "We know people's attitudes can't change overnight, but we want to work on how to get over this," said Suraj Deshpande, member of the winning team.
Mani Bhavan celebrates Gandhi week
With a click of the mouse, Vasant Pradhan, president of Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sanghralaya Library at Gamdevi, launched the adopt-a-book scheme on Sunday to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The launch also marked the beginning of the Gandhi Jayanti week (October 2- 7) being observed at the Bhavan. From a mass-spinning (charkha) session to the recital of Gandhi's favourite bhajans (devotional songs) and a khadi exhibition, Sunday's events borrowed slices from the Mahatma's life.
"This year was extra special because of the launch of our adopt-a-book scheme. Hours into the launch, we received several email queries from Mumbai-based Gandhi supporters, who were keen to make their contributions," said Sandhya Mehta, coordinator and researcher at the Bhavan. "We are also expecting a good response from supporters based abroad. By the end of this year, we are planning to raise Rs3 lakh and will use it for the upkeep of the 105 crumbled books," she added.
The list of books up for adoption is available on the Bhavan's website (www.gandhi-manibhavan.org) and donors can begin making their contributions from Sunday. "The website will also have a list of Gandhi's quotes. People making a contribution of Rs25,000 can also select a personalised quote that will be printed on their certificates," said Ranjan Bharuchi, the librarian.
During the week, members of the Gandhi Seva Sena will exhibit and sell khadi wear and herbal products on the first floor of the Bhavan. "We will propagate the Mahatma's thoughts to students through cultural events such as competitions," said Dr Usha Thakkar, honorary secretary of Mani Bhavan.