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School kids lead KEEP Namma Pondy Clean drive in Puducherry

With the goal of creating a Swachh Bharat, good habits and a sense of stewardship towards the environment shall be inculcated into citizens at the grassroots level. Hence, kids should be roped in to learn the best practices of Swachhata so that they get to imbibe the principles of cleanliness at a very young age.

Acting upon this idea, the Union Territory of Puducherry engaged over 40 schools under the KEEP Namma Pondy clean initiative to mobilize the young crusaders of Swachhata during the Swachhata Pakhwada- Swachhata Hi Seva campaign. Cities are gearing up for Ek Tareekh Ek Ghanta Ek Sath Shramdaan for Swachhata on 1st October, for which over 7 lakh sites have already been adopted across the nation.

KEEP Namma Pondy Clean is the mission of making Pondicherry one of the cleanest coastal cities in India. In line with MoHUA’s SUP free zone and with support from local administration and other partners, a ‘Zero Waste Initiative’ was launched at the city’s educational campuses. This initiative gained attention and traction towards efforts in not only properly diverting their wet and dry waste from the Kurumbapet landfill but also actively engaging with the city’s next generation.

Through a partner-driven approach, the KEEP Team initiated dialogues with interested institutions and engaged with the students to conduct awareness sessions before the Zero Waste Kit- consisting of one blue bin and two compost bins, was handed over to each school. With this, the staff and students were briefed on source segregation and ways to use the compost bins on campus. The students were made a part of waste-to-art competitions, cleanup drives and tours of Pondicherry’s first Material Recovery Facility called the Sanitation Park.

Inspired by the proactive approach of the Pondicherry body, the Oulgaret Municipality followed suit. Planned at a neighborhood level, two community composters were installed to manage the wet waste in Oulgaret Municipality. The KEEP team ensures regular door-to-door awareness campaigns to ensure residents are segregating at source. The sanitation workers were too roped in to manage the compost bins. This has created a sense of ownership among the community towards creating value from their waste.

As an impact, the initiative witnessed the diversion of over 950kg of dry waste by diverting the dry waste to the Sanitation Park and ensuring proper end-of-life disposal, and composting at the campus level, students and staff learned in a practical and hands-on manner about the value derived from waste through plastic waste management and composting. The initiative boosted community engagement. More importantly, through the initiative and engagement programmes such as waste-to-art competitions and cleanup drives, the young minds were made eco-conscious with the help of creative and innovative methods beyond the classroom.

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