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March 30, 2011
Dept of Social Work, Amritapuri
Local women volunteers of Allapad village took advantage of a full-day Sustainable Waste Management Workshop presented by the Social Work Department of Amritapuri Campus.
Allapad Panchayat President Mr. Rajapriyan and Alappad ward member Mr. Harshan inaugurated the program with Swami Jnanamritanandapuri and Dr. Bala Shankar, Associate Dean, Amritapuri campus.
“We wanted to sensitize participants to various methods used to manage generated waste and also provide awareness about problems that can result from unsustainable and unscientific waste management practices,” stated Mr. Renjith R. Pillai, who convened the workshop.
Local health inspector of Oachira Community Health Center, Mr. Sajeev, directed the women to visualize a clean, green village and invited them to express their ideas about current health conditions in Kerala, emphasizing how public health has worsened, in part, due to inefficient waste management practices.
Encouraging the women to segregate household waste into bio-degradable and non-degradable items, he explained, “Bio-degradable waste could be used to make compost. It can also be useful if a biogas plant were to start in the community. Non-degradable waste should be recycled; it could be sold for profit.”
The presentation was following by a series of interactive group sessions involving the community volunteers. The women were provided opportunities to analyze and problem-solve through cooperative group learning activities in which groups of six to seven members recorded discussion ideas and created charts to tangibly demonstrate findings and conclusions.
Covering the topic of Waste Categorization and Current Disposal Methods first, each group completed a two-column chart, listing common waste categories in one column and respective disposal methods in the next column. Subsequently the groups analyzed which categories of waste were more abundant during different times of the year. One goal was to ascertain the practicality of implementing a biogas plant in the community.
Finally, each group presented their findings. Jointly, the groups came up with several remedial measures to properly manage waste – clean and collect plastic waste to be sold at regular intervals to scrap dealers; reduce and reuse plastic to create less waste; compost bio-degradable waste; place waste bins in appropriate places for community waste collection; conduct awareness campaigns and explore starting of small-scale industries for manufacturing bags, purses and other fancy items from plastic waste.
“This workshop was part of a institution initiative to develop a model for sustainable waste management,” shared Mr. Renjith. “Subsequent to the training, we have adopted 7th ward of Alappad Panchayat to pilot test the program. In addition to promotion of sustainable waste management practices, we will also encourage organic farming and the growing of mangroves, so essential to protecting our degraded ecosystems.”
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