After children from 11 schools, and volunteers from NGOs Jalbiradari, Janwani and The Academic Advisors (TAA), successfully collected four tonnes of plastic in a drive last year, the second leg of the programme is to have amuch larger target — Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Education Board has this year requested organisers to involve 148 schools from 11 wards.
PMC Education Board chairman Pradeep Dhumal told Mirror, “We decided to request NGOs to expand the programme, which will begin from July 1, because it was a success last year.
|The drive was successfully conducted in 11 schools last year
Students learned the importance of garbage segregation and the plastic was sold for the money to be used to improve school amenities.” Jalbiradari president Vinod Bodhankar said, “The drive is three-fold – each school is given a map of Pune district with its five rivers and major canals.
Students place a red dot at the school’s location to understand their place in the city’s drainage system. They collect plastic from their homes, bring it in each month, and are given a yellow pin.”
Collected plastic is then sold to Clean Garbage Management Pvt Ltd. Activists also plan to give schools amateur water-testing kits provided by Shrishti Eco-Research Institute (SERI), so that students can test for water pollution themselves. After completing this third step, students will get a green pin.
R K Deshpande, principal of the Dnyansanvardhini Prashala in Shirwal that participated last year, said, “Our students collected 500 kg of plastic last year, we will definitely join this year too.”
Avita Raj, PTA member, St Vincent’s School in Camp, said, “The school collected Rs 6,500 through four collection drives and students were taught about garbage segregation.” Sister Sandhya, principal of St Ursula’s, Nigdi, said, “We had problems storing the large amount plastic collected, because children brought plastic from their relatives’ homes as well as theirs.”
Susan Raj of TAA told Mirror, “We have included this programme in the Environmental Studies classes in schools as an active project, so that it can be included in school curriculi. Plastic collection gives us an opportunity to enter homes and spread awareness.”
Bodhankar added, “We are confident of involving students’ parents as well, tripling our outreach. The project has been designed to eventually clean up the Ujjani dam reservoir.”
Located in Solapur district, the reservoir is fed by eleven rivers, five out of which flow through Pune – the Mula, Mutha, Pavana, Ramnadi and Indrayani, all of which are extremely polluted.