Whether you choose to believe it or not, approximately 5 trillion polythene bags are sold globally per year; meaning that 160,000 bags are sold by the second. This is not the only concerning issue at hand because, if we were to take all the mass produced poly bags manufactured in an hour, they would be able to go around the globe nearly 7 times! And for what? Only for the use of a poly bag for an average of 12 minutes.
Recycling is a hot topic that is talked about everywhere, but in reality only 1% of the waste produced is actually recycled. Mr. Akshay Shah, Director of the Hanifl Center, recently spoke at the CFI on Integrated Solid Waste Management, specifically discussing the “Butterfly Project,” a community based project in Nainital that was named after a ruling by a judge in the supreme court. “Nainital was like a beautiful butterfly but had turned into an ugly butterfly,” was the ruling, but Mr Akshay and his team’s main mission was to turn this thought upside down, and hence coming up with the name “Mission Butterfly”. They started off small by spreading awareness in small community homes and later to larger cities within Nainital. The main function of the team was to collect segregated waste from clusters in different localities and convert them into compost at Solid Waste Management Plants. Even though, according to the supreme court, the producer is responsible for their own garbage produced and not the urban local body, it was a big challenge for the Project members to persuade people to join in on their initiative. It was indeed a hard fight fought by the team of spreading both awareness and implementing their method of proper solid waste management, but soon enough the project was implemented. Though there were hardships faced while starting up the project, Mr Akshay says that, “You will find opposition but they can become your greatest allies”, which is something that we as members of the Woodstock Community can learn from.
The waste produced at Woodstock is a major challenge that most concerned staff and students are willing to work towards. One of the initiatives taken up by our very own students, Aditi Gaur, is the Environmental Collaborative: The Waste Management Project. The environmental collaborative, as described by Aditi, is an initiative that was just recently started; it is an umbrella term for any project related to the environment, with the goal of making Woodstock a more sustainable place to be in. One of these newly set up umbrella projects is the Waste Management Project. With the help of Mr Akshay Shah, this project was started following the model of Mission Butterfly set up at Nainital. This project aims to replicate the successful Mission Butterfly and to carry out proper solid waste management here at school. One of the broader visions of it is decentralized composting, meaning that rather than a single large composting pit, there will be smaller pits scattered all throughout the school, such as near the staff houses, where individuals will be able to carry out composting through their own initiative.
The Waste Management Project will not be an easy task to carry out, but Aditi and the other members of the Environmental Collaborative are eager and adamant to see their hopes and aspirations through for a better and more sustainable environment here at Woodstock. A piece of advice from Aditi to all of us is that “most of us need to acknowledge how privileged we are to be here. This privilege makes us look past the amount of waste we are generating and we need to realize and have the understanding that we have the power to do so much better. Being reliant on others to change when you, yourself, could be the change can create a ripple effect which can be passed on to your younger peers, telling them that yes! You CAN be and make the change that you wish to be in society.”
Faith is a staff reporter.
Edited by Asha.