Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Towards A Plastic Free World

Ira, a village in Bantwal taluk in Mangalore had achieved some thing big to be noticed by the national weekly, India Today. I was scanning through the latest edition of India Today dated February 11, 2008. It was then I came across this article about Ira, which said not only Indian media but international community too took notice of this small village of about 1300 families.

Well, there is a lot of publicity involved whenever an environmental initiative is taken up by some organization in the cities. But more often end result is not so impressive. May be it is too much to ask from the already stressed city dwellers. Anyway, here is a village which keeps itself free of plastic/polythene bags. Here is one village which is all clean and fully literate. Now this is something which will attract the national and international media attention. Visits by UNICEF team (which consisted representatives from Indonesia, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe), National Rural Development Department team, a 28-member team from Kerala, representatives from various districts from Karnataka to study the development here, bear testimony to this fact.

This inspiring story of Ira village began when it implemented Center’s Sampoorna Swachata Andolana or the total sanitation project in 2005. Active participation by the people of the village, women in particular, made it a success. After success of this scheme, anti plastic drive began. People were asked to refrain from using plastic and dump which they have to create plastic mountains. This collection of polythene bags was then sent to Bangalore for recycling. ‘Apna Desh’, an initiative started by former Deputy Commissioner of Mangalore, Mr. Bharat Lal Meena, 10 years ago, said to have made a big impact in the lives of the people here.

Success has its own rewards. Ira which is surely serving as model to many villages around the world, has won the Nirmal Gram Puraskar from the Union Government and will definitely earn many more in the future. For role models in keeping our environment clean, green and plastic free, we need not look outside our nation. It is in our own backyard. Just the strong will of our people is needed to create more Iras in our country.


India Today
Deccan Herald
Times Of India, Mangalore

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