Guwahati, Sept 10: Assam and Nagaland are setting unique “eco-friendly” examples under the “Swachh Diwali, Shubh Diwali” campaign to encourage people to keep their localities clean post the festival of lights.
Under the campaign, Assam has taken up the ‘waste to food’ route, which is a unique initiative to manage and control the post-Diwali waste.
In this regard, the state has adopted the principle of 3-Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to transform ‘waste to food.’
Traditionally, people light earthen lamps on the stems of banana trees at the entrances of residential and commercial establishments to celebrate Deepawali, as it is locally called. However, the stems of the banana trees used on Diwali night are of no use the next day.
To make sure that the banana tree stems are put to good use while eliminating the waste post Diwali, the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban team in Assam has come up with a special plan – a simple waste management process which has been adopted by the urban local bodies.
“The banana trees, stems and leaves that will be left unused the next day after the traditional Diwali celebrations will be handed over to the national parks around urban local bodies for use as fodder for elephants,” an official said.
Where there are no national parks in the vicinity, the citizens will cut the banana trees into small pieces and hand them over to the urban local bodies for disposal. From there, the municipal staff will hand over the stems of these trees to cow shelters or ‘waste to compost’ pits located in the centre.
Already, 104 central compost pits and over 6000 domestic composting pits have been arranged at various places to eliminate such waste.
Meanwhile, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) on Friday appealed to the city residents to dispose of banana trees used during the Diwali celebrations in the garbage bins placed at strategic locations of the city by the civic body.
Taking to its official ‘X’ platform, the corporation has asked the shopkeepers, residents and Kali puja pandal committees not to toss banana trees on the streets. A helpline number (8811007000) has also been shared for proper disposal of the trees.
“Don’t toss the banana trees on the streets. Call GMC on our helpline number, and we’ll pick them up! Whether they’re unsold or used, we’ll ensure proper disposal. Let’s light up the city without littering it. Together, we can make a difference!” it stated.
On the other hand, since the launch of the “Swachh Diwali Shubh Diwali” campaign by the ministry of housing and urban affairs, Nagaland, like other states, is actively promoting awareness for an eco-friendly Diwali this year.
The Tuensang Town Council in Nagaland has launched a novel initiative, directing all market shopkeepers to place a green plant near their entrances, symbolising a commitment to a clean and green Diwali.
Besides, in a concerted effort to curb single-use plastic usage this Diwali, Nagaland’s markets are championing the “bring your own bag” concept. Leading the campaign, the Mangkolemba Town Council has mandated that shops refrain from offering any form of carry bags, including paper bags, to customers.
Instead, the shoppers have been actively encouraged and directed to bring their own bags. “This strategic move aims to reduce plastic waste and instill a culture of environmental responsibility, emphasising the importance of personal contributions to sustainable practices in daily life. It reflects a community-driven commitment to fostering eco-friendly habits and minimising the environmental impact of retail activities,” the official said.
Furthermore, the Medziphema Town Council has introduced the ‘RRR (reduce, reuse, recycle) – With Incentive’ programme.
This initiative encourages people to use the RRR facility, promoting waste segregation and the concept of turning waste into wealth.
To generate maximum participation, the town is issuing coupons for those bringing their waste to designated centres, offering rewards such as saplings, ice creams, chocolates and other items from various stores within Medziphema town, thereby reinforcing positive environmental practices.