Managing Your Waste – One Ward at a Time!

 In Community, Sustainability

Goa is on the cusp of a social revolution led by its citizens. While on the face of it, an external visitor might not see the simmering ideas that are making people change the way they live, but if you keep your eyes and ears open, you will find inspirational stories seeping in from all corners of this state.

Ordinary citizens all over Goa are realizing the power that lies in the collective and they’re coming together to wrest back control over their communities and tackle issues that matter to them.

From getting the Government to create a permanent fund for the future generations from our mineral sales, to fighting against unsustainable development, citizens are actively seeking solutions for problems that they face.

The town of Valpoi is far from the mainstream consciousness of Goa. It lies deep in the hinterland of the state and is closer to the Maharashtra and Karnataka border than the capital town of Panjim. After mining in the state was shut down, not many stories emanated from the small town. However, citizens from ward number 7 of this town are determined to change that.

On 19th September women from self-help groups, citizens from the ward and the sanitation workers from the Valpoi Municipal Council came together to clean up garbage alongside the streets and fields of the ward. Seeing the amount of garbage that was accumulated that day, the citizens realized that they had to do more themselves rather than depend on the municipality to clear their waste.

A committee was formed with 15 women from the ward to mobilize the community towards maintaining the spaces in the community. The committee wasn’t done there. The citizens understood that segregation and composting of organic waste should happen at home and called upon the residents to start segregating and composting the organic waste at the household level.

Under the guidance of Sumit Singh, Governance Expert On Swachh Bharat Mission, the committee enlisted the help of Mrs. Jyoti Mhapsekar, an award-winning expert on household composting and waste management to hold a training session forward members.

The training, which took place a week later, had Mrs. Mhapsekar talk about how ethical consumption can control the amount of waste generated. She also gave a demonstration on how to compost organic waste using an easy to make composting bin and compost culture. The residents set themselves a deadline of 2nd October to have all families in the village managing and composting their own waste.

 

What stood out during the program was the determination of the residents to make this a success. They understand that the problem of garbage and excess waste that the state is facing is caused by the citizens themselves, and if everyone at a household level can control the amount of waste they generate, the problem will be reduced considerably.

Most of the residents come from a lower income bracket and very few have had access to a formal education. Yet, they are not letting that get in the way of their aim of making their ward a model for others to follow and bring Valpoi back in the limelight.

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