So much are we nourished and cared by nature that we can aptly use the term “Mother” when we talk about her. With the modern definition of “development” we have created a world full of non-biodegradable wastes that ultimately give birth to serious problems like pollution, global warming, diseases and many more. Thus there always exists a crisis in newer ideas on waste disposal. Not just humans, this pollution factor even disturbs the natural saprophytic relationship between micro-organisms and plants leading to “micro-level pollution”. This directly affects production and crop yield.
CRISIS TRIGGERS INNOVATION
Following a series of several unsuccessful experiments in 2013-14, a new idea regarding the reuse of scrap covers of eatables like Lays, Kurkure, etc was born in 2015. The idea was to use it for book covers. Thus with “green” or “Hariyo (in vernacular)” representing the colour of nature a new mission was initiated by the name HARIYO MAKHA—SIKKIM AGAINST AIR POLLUTION from within the premises of a government school. It was aimed for the protection of Mother Nature.
RISE IN PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS
Due to almost “zero resale value” of the scrap covers, they could not contribute in financial profit of scrap vendors. Without a proper disposal idea and tremendous waste generation everyday, the plastic scraps ultimately get piled up thereby increasing landfill problems and even giving rise to soil pollution. We have been trying to convert these scraps into raw materials for making book covers using a healthy and hygienic mechanism. So far we have collected more than 50,000 scrap plastics converting them into huge rolls of more than 2 kilometers in length. We have also been successful in covering more than 3000 books and copies using these rolls. The mission gained tremendous momentum with the active participation of SMCs, Panchayats, NGOs and local intellectuals of Makha and the surrounding areas. Adarsh Vidhya Mandir, Singbel became the first school participant in our mission followed by Govt. JHS Singbel, Govt. SS Ralap and Govt. SSS Singtam.
UNIQUE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT AND CHARITY
Followed by a meeting with SMCs and Panchayats a group of interested students were chosen for a “Unique Social Experiment”. They helped in covering all the books and copies of a nearby school at their homes. This resulted in a small amount of fund that was utilized in helping one of our student Bir Bahadur Rai for getting admission to a BA course under IGNOU. This was perhaps the most “emotional success” that our students achieved. With their hard work, they learned the value of “generosity” and “charity”. This further encouraged me in starting a class on “Value Education” so that their spirit of helping others do not fade with time. This year we are planning to help few of our drop-out students in getting admissions to NIOS. We are all set to work for our new target of collecting 1,00,000 scrap plastics and using it to cover around 3000 books from class 6 to 8. More experiments on small sized plastics like Halls, Chloromint, etc are on their way, hopefully to invent similar innovative ideas on their reuse.
CLEAN PAPER POLICY
Every school and offices contain papers which are used only on one side. Thus there exists a tremendous potential of paper resource that can be converted into rough papers. Starting from a mere 500 pages which were stapled to form rough copies and given to students for free of cost, the number gradually climbed to a total of more than 30,000 by the end of 2017. With an approximation that a fully grown tree can generate around 5000 pages, we could thus save an equivalent of 6 trees. This idea also prompted students to use all other one-sided papers at home.
VIRTUAL MUNICIPALITY AND GOLDEN RUPEE INITIATIVE
Since 2013, I have been working on the idea of segregation of Solid and Dry Waste. I would segregate and organize solid waste of my home and around 10 families in my locality to be given to a local scrap vendor for free. Working hard all these years, I could segregate around 972 kg of Paper items and 270 kg Plastic items. With this experience a new initiative called “Golden Rupee” was initiated at school level. The idea was to conduct monthly cleanliness campaign at Makha and segregate solid waste. In the first phase we could collect 61.49 kg of Paper items, 31.98 kg of Plastic items and 10.95 kg of Tin items, i.e., a total of 104.92 kg of scrap was given to a local scrap vendor for just one rupee.
We had been called for a program at Khandu SS under Dentam BAC in West Sikkim on 24th April 2017 and at Raley JHS under Rakdong-Tintek BAC in East Sikkim on 26th April 2017. We were also invited for a program at Nandok BAC on 1st September 2017, where we held open discussions with the students, NGOs, Panchayats and public. So far we have been able to spread our ideas with nearly 50 government schools in all the four districts of Sikkim. Some schools like Adarsh Vidhya Mandir, Singtam SSS and Suryodaya JHS are even collecting and contributing plastics to us.
AWARDS AND PUBLICATIONS
A video documentary was made under Rakdong-Tintek BAC that was able to get the first prize in the state. Our work was also appreciated by Shri Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Commerce & Industries. The idea also got a certificate for the Dept of Labour and Dept of Skill, Govt of Sikkim on the occasion of Labour Day 2017. It was also awarded by the Office of Additional District Collector (Development), District Administrative Centre, East Sikkim on the occasion of Independence Day 2017. The North East Career magazine “The Accelerator” became the first print media to highlight the cause. The work was also published by The Sikkim Express, Hamro Prajasakti and Samay Dainik. It was also appreciated by Voice of Sikkim and The Sikkim Reviews. National news channel like News 18 also came to “Ground Zero” for making a video documentary. The mission was also appreciated by the page “Youth of India” on Facebook which has more than 2 lakh followers all over India and abroad.
Initiated with the vision of cleanliness, Hariyo Makha aims at working for Mother Nature. We are also looking forward to bring out a book on our works to create a platform for exchanging innovative ideas for a healthy and clean state and the nation as a whole.