An activist is not a man who says that the river is dirty. An activist is a man who cleans up the dirt in the river.
Over time, Mumbai has emerged as one of the greatest producers of solid waste in the country and it is estimated that the urban agglomerate of Mumbai generates more than 6% of the total waste generated in India. The average generation of municipal solid waste is more than 6,500 tons while an additional 2,500 tons of construction and demolition waste is generated per day. However, due to shortages of resources, collection efficiency is still 70–75%, against the service level benchmarks of 100% identified by the Ministry of Urban Development.
Further, challenges related to scientific disposal of solid waste are significantly resulting in environmental pollution. The most promising way to tackle the shortage of resources is to educate the citizens and promote waste management.
On 18th October 2015, the Mumbai team of Earth5R- Sagar Kulkarni, Amol Prasadi, Anmol Hembrom, Ajeet Singh, Mayur Raje, Ishan Shah, Atharva Deokar, Saurabh Gupta, Jahaan Gupta and Akshita Shah went to The Happy Streets, Thane with an agenda to educate the citizens on waste management.
Happy Streets is a joint initiative by the Thane Traffic police, Thane Municipal Corporation and supported by Times of India. The road is shut down for vehicles for 4 hours- from 6 am to 10 am in order to promote the cause of a pollution-free environment.
The team reached the venue early morning. There were people from different age groups participating in various of activities. Though the street was tidy and clean, the divider was accumulated with garbage. The Earth5R team started a clean-up activity from the divider and a lot of people joined in. They appreciated the work and also enquired about the organization.
A few pre-school kids playing at the arena were fascinated by seeing the cleanliness activity. The team decided to educate them in a fun way and their parents joined in too. On witnessing the impact of the EarthTalk on the children, the preschool invited the team to organize an Earth Talk for their students.
Later, the team started an impromptu discussion on waste management. People of all age groups were willing to raise their awareness and exhibit their concerns. The vigilant citizens assured their participation in the change process.
–Written by Akshita Shah. Edited by Pragya Lodha