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Segregate your waste, clean a beach: Mumbai students get Bappa to back them

Student volunteers are staging streetplays at Ganpati pandals to help locals make responsible choices

mumbai Updated: Sep 04, 2017 09:42 IST
Students from MD College perform a street play at a pandal in Mumbai.(HT Photo)

As the city celebrates its biggest festival - Ganeshotsav - some college goers are using the season to create awareness about various social and civic issues through cultural activities. Students are staging street plays at Ganpati pandals, colleges and other public places to create a more informed and responsible citizenry.

For example, students from National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of MD College in Parel have performed street plays on issues such as cleanliness, monsoon ailments and women’s empowerment in around 20 pandals in Parel, Sewri and Bhoiwada areas - the heart of the city's Ganeshotsav festivities. "A lot of people visit these mandals during the festive season. It's easy to get our message across quickly through them," said Akhsay Lavand, an NSS volunteer from the college.

Through these plays, the students are attempting to familiarise Mumbaiites with some basic issues about urban life. For example, in order to prevent monsoon-related ailments such as dengue and malaria, the students urge people to stop littering on the street or allow water get accumulated in their homes and its vicinity.

A group of students from Hinduja College, Chowpatty, held a rally from the college campus to the beach to urge devotees not to use idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP) that damage water bodies. “During visarjan, many PoP idols are released in water, harming the water bodies. Eco-friendly idols are much better for environment,” said Yashvi Jadhav, a student from college.

On Tuesday, the last day of Ganeshotsav, NSS volunteers at UPG College in Vile Parle will also stage a street play on the campus on the theme of 'Swachha Bharat Abhiyan'. "We are exploring the ways in which we could contribute to the festival. Since we have experience of performing street plays, we decided to stage one to demonstrate how to take care of medical waste and the waste generated during the festival," said Rushi Mehta, a student at the college.

The activities will continue after the festival. The Rotaract Club of St Andrew’s College is planning to conduct a beach cleaning drive after the festival.

Similarly, with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation announcing that it won't pick up garbage from large housing societies unless they segregate their waste, the students from KC College Churchgate recently held a play on to raise awareness on the issue at Churchgate station. These students now plan to approach various societies to educate them about waste segregation through presentations.

With women constantly facing the threat of violence and abuse, students show them how to speak up and seek the help of the authorities. "We receive very good response from people. They connect with our characters and realise their mistakes," said Lavand.

The students said they these activities help them improve their inter-personal skills. "We learn how to communicate better and spread our message. These interactions help develop our personalities," said Lavand.

The teacher believe that these activities help the students make a change in their own lives. "While educating others about their civic responsibilities, the students themselves learn a lot. It's easy to stand in a public place and talk about an issue, the implementation is the hard part," said Satish Kolte, NSS coordinator at KC College.

First Published: Sep 04, 2017 00:26 IST