After our episode on Waste Management was telecast in March 2014, the municipalities of Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh) invited our show's guest, Mr C. Srinivasan to help clean up various parts of the cities. One of the major projects undertaken was in the Jodhpur zoo. Spanning an area of 2 hectares, the Zoo is 100% waste-free today!
Two compost beds at Jodhpur Zoo
Mr Srinivasan met with Mr Mahendra Singh Rathore, the District Forest Officer of Jodhpur and explained the process of Solid Liquid Resource Management to him. The same night, Mr Rathore arranged for the required tools and material and initiated the activity. Mr Srinivasan and his team set up a makeshift working space in the zoo's empty bear cage and within a week's time, the cleaning process was handed over to SLRM volunteers.
Mr.Rathore also regularly visited the SLRM centre and helped explain the composting process to the staffers inside the zoo in their local language. “There has been a major change in our attitudes and our work since the time we realized that garbage is not waste; it is in fact a resource,” he says. He adds that they make compost from the biodegradable waste and use it in their plantations. Visitors often ask why there are dustbins of two colours—red and green. The zookeepers educate them about the types of waste and encourage them as well to adopt waste management techniques.
Workers at Jodhpur zoo take an oath of cleanliness
Moreover, the zoo has “adopted” the street leading up to its gate and has a team that keeps it clean at all times. Mr Srinivasan's guidance has been taken to maintain Jodhpur's new zoo and Mr Rathore has recommended the SLRM process for other projects under the Forest Department as well. “This is the best way to give back to society. I feel that such techniques should be implements worldwide!” he says.
The mayor, local MP, MLA, District Collector and other district administrators distribute dustbins in Ambikapur.
In Ambikapur, four SLRM centres are being set up under a project titled 'Swach Ambikapur Mission'. After Ritu Sain, the District Collector, saw the Satyamev Jayate episode, she called for a meeting and screened the episode for the officials of the Municipal Corporation. Soon after, the Collector and her team decided to launch an SLRM project under the guidance of Mr. Srinivasan. Two municipal engineers from AMC, Ambikapur even visited a centre in Coimbatore to understand the process better. Members from low-income communities and unemployed youth found a meaningful opportunity in helping to keep their city clean as they were hired as part of the mission and given tricycles to collect and segregate the waste.
The mayor of Ambikapur flags off two tricycles for door-to-door waste collection.
Workers and other citizens were motivated and explained the benefits of the mission. 550 workers volunteers were trained in using a range of tools required in various cleaning and composting activities. A workers' group called the Swach Ambikapur Mission Sahakari Samiti (SAMSS) was also formed. Aruna Xess, President of the Samiti said, "Special thanks to our Collector Ritu Sain, who has been our biggest driving force. She told us to look at dried leaves and other materials as a resource. She said that those are our earnings, we just have to pick them up!" Ms Xess added that the three main projects of door-to-door collection, composting and duck rearing are underway.
On the day one of the SLRM centres was inaugurated, various members of the community also staged a cultural event to raise awareness about sanitation and waste management. Some citizens also donated SLRM center & dustbins for the upkeep of their ward. With these two projects underway in such a robust manner, we can only hope to see many more across the country!