Swachh Bharat! This Maharashtra Panchayat Adopts Innovative, Low-Cost Methods To Eliminate Plastic Waste

Image Credits: PIB, PIxabay

Swachh Bharat! This Maharashtra Panchayat Adopts Innovative, Low-Cost Methods To Eliminate Plastic Waste

Under Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II, plastic waste management is vital for achieving Open Defecation Free Plus status. Adhering to the need, the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Bhor block, V. G. Tanpure, planned a cluster level plastic waste management system for villages near Pune that generated a large volume of plastic waste.

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Sasewadi Gram Panchayat in Bhor Block of Maharashtra's Pune district has set a healthy precedent towards eliminating plastic waste and achieving visual cleanliness through a low-cost, innovative, cluster level system for plastic waste management (PWM).

The project under Phase II of SBM-G is timely, given the phenomenal increase in plastic waste and its challenges, even in the country's rural areas.

Four Gram Panchayats, namely Sasewadi, Kasurdi, Shindewadi and Velu, were selected for the pilot project, having several small-scale industries operating in their jurisdiction, besides many hotels and restaurants. This resulted in a large floating population. Further, dumping and burning plastic waste in the open was common in nearly all the GPs, creating a nuisance. The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) realised that management of such waste needs to be urgently addressed, the Ministry of Jal Shakti said in its press release.

Under Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) Phase II, plastic waste management is vital for achieving Open Defecation Free Plus status. Adhering to the need, the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Bhor, V. G. Tanpure, planned a cluster level plastic waste management system for villages near Pune on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway that generated a large volume of plastic waste.

Meetings were held in all the Gram Panchayats to explain to the community the need and significance of the initiative and its relevance for attaining ODF Plus status. The administration decided to tie up with a private plastic recycling company that collects and processes plastic, converting it into a crude oil used for industrial burners.

"The government eventually selected a company that had an operational unit situated within a one-kilometre range of the villages and which would facilitate easy transportation of the waste to the team while keeping the costs to a minimum," the press release said.

PWM System In Sasewadi Village

Sasewadi village was the first to have a system for collection, segregation, and transportation of waste while maximising the usage of available resources. Initially, the villagers converted their proposed vermicomposting unit into a resource recovery centre and provided a small space to store the collected plastic waste. Later, they hired a sanitation worker to collect and segregate waste and another worker to transport it to the company at a nominal charge.

Initially, villagers would not segregate waste properly. However, after consistent interpersonal communication, almost every household was linked to the system.

The company purchases plastic waste at Rs. 8/kg and the Gram Panchayat uses the income for operation and maintenance of the system. The unit is also equipped with a dust remover to clean the plastic and a shredder to dice it into equal-sized pieces.

The plastic processing unit provides two vital benefits- it accepts every kind of plastic waste for processing, and the bi-products it generates are not hazardous to the environment. The gas generated and the oil are used to power the equipment at the plant. In addition, the emissions are below the prescribed limit of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

After successfully implementing the project in Sasewadi, the government plans to organise a similar process to link the other three villages to the system. The remaining villages in the Block will adopt a step-by-step approach in future for the disposal of plastic waste, replicating this unique, eco-friendly and low-cost model.

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Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
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Creatives : Tashafi Nazir