Residents of Gautam Budh Nagar go green to make city garbage free
From advocating against single-use plastics to starting a crockery bank to replacing everyday plastic products with its sustainable alternatives, residents of Gautam Buddh Nagar have been on a mission to ensure a cleaner and greener city. On October 1, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the phase 2 of the Swachh Bharat Mission aiming to make all cities garbage free, HT brings you a list of green initiatives initiated by residents of Gautam Budh Nagar aspiring to achieve the same dream.
Since the past three months, at least 100 households in Noida’s Arun Vihar have been recycling their dry waste and about 30 of them are composting their wet waste, essentially moving closer to zero-waste homes. The initiative was started by Arun Vihar residents’ group ‘Saaph’ (Sustainable Alternatives and Awareness against Plastics and Household waste), led by seven women.
“We have registered with an organization, about which we got to know about a year ago, that recycles dry waste and takes it from us every fortnight. The minimum requirement for a locality to get registered for pick up of dry waste was 30 households and we had only seven such interested households. We took it as a challenge and encouraged more households in the neighbourhood to get registered and start recycling dry waste. Today, 100 households from Arun Vihar are a part of the initiative,” said Radhika Gulati, a resident of Arun Vihar and a member of SAAPH.
“Not all households registered for dry waste are composting wet waste at home as of now. We continue to create awareness and encourage people to create home compost using wet waste. As of now, 30 households in the locality are actively using home compost kits for their wet waste and we hope more people join in,” said Supriya Sardana, another resident of Arun Vihar and a member of SAAPH who also runs a ‘crockery bank’ to cut the use of disposable plastic utensils.
A ‘crockery bank’ lets people borrow steel utensils for free on different occasions like birthdays or festivals. People can then wash and return the utensils, reducing their dependency on disposable plastic plates, spoons or glasses.
A similar initiative is run by Madhu Mittal, a resident of Sector 50, who has been actively advocating against the use of single-use plastic for over four years now. “I have over 800 units of steel utensils which are often rented out free of cost across the city for community lunches, religious gatherings or birthdays,” said Mittal, who runs the initiative Jan Jagran Sangathan, under which underprivileged children from nearby settlements also create awareness against single-use plastic by conducting marches and performing street plays.
Jan Jagran Sangathan is a group of over 50 residents from Noida actively working towards promoting sanitation and cleanliness. “We are holding a cleanliness campaign in Sector 50 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on Saturday, where we will carry out a march from 7am to 9am to educate and inform people about the importance of sanitation,” said Mittal.
Shail Mathur, a resident of Sector 55, has also been advocating against the use of single-use plastic for the past six years. Mathur has created a residents group ‘TREE’ (taking responsibility for earth and environment) that works on distributing cloth bags.
“Under TREE, we have been mobilizing local children to confiscate any polythene or polybags found with any shopowner or vendor in the sector and in turn provide them with free cloth bags provided by us. With our continuous efforts, the weekly market in Sector 55 has become plastic-free now. Moreover, in the last six years, we have collected over 3,000kg of polythene from weekly markets,” said Mathur.
In March this year, the Noida Authority had recognised Sector 55-56 market as ‘plastic free’. “We hope such initiatives of residents continue to make our city cleaner. Moreover, Noida Authoruty has always encouraged environment-friendly activities,” said Ritu Maheshwari, CEO of Noida Authority.
Meanwhile, with more people across NCR taking interest in environment-friendly products, Noida’s Sector 37 residents Sumit Khanna and Paramveer Khosa started a venture to replace everyday plastic products with its sustainable alternatives two years ago.
“While people want to avoid using plastic, they struggle with finding its alternatives. That is how we came up with the concept of making products out of bamboo under the name Indibam. Here we sell bamboo toothbrushes, bottles, straws, serving trays, tongue cleaners and more. The market for sustainable products has been expanding and we are trying to do our bit,” said Khanna, who was earlier working as an international business manager with a private firm. He added that 10% of their profit goes to feed underprivileged children.
In a similar initiative, Sector 51 resident Tarunima Bajpai provides and promotes sustainable lifestyle alternatives to customers under her social enterprise Ecoswop Solutions.
“From recycled paper pens, bamboo and stainless steel straws to coconut shell soap stands and coconut coir dishwash scrubs, all the sustainable products are made by women from self-help groups located in small villages of western Uttar Pradesh. The raw material is sourced from northeast and south India. With this initiative, we hope people can move towards a zero-waste future,” said Bajpai, who is a lawyer by profession.