Hands-on program to understand waste management and waste production in city

Client: Welham Girls’ school, Dehradun, India

What I did: Programme facilitation, Co-ordination and planning

Date: 2016 

Waste has been a major environmental issue everywhere since the industrial revolution. Besides the waste we create at home, school and other public places, there are also those from industries, farms and other sources. Humans rely so much on material things and they all (almost) end up as waste. And where, for us, does the life of waste end? In garbage cans and dump yards across the world. But… this is just the beginning. 

‘Life after Waste programme at Welham Girls’ School, Dehradun was designed to question our understanding of ‘waste’ and how it can be managed to lead a life beyond the garbage bin. 

The session began with a fun game based on segregation followed by interviews with the school cleaning staff, peers, teachers with a few ambitious ones even stepping into the offices of their Vice Principal and Principal. We also had fun discussing strategies that were being adopted by different countries around the world including conversion of waste to energy.  Inspired, some young entrepreneurial minds sparked with bright business plans. ‘Let’s sell our waste to Sweden and Norway! They need it to fuel their industries!’, they exclaimed. 

The following day students engaged in hands-on experience of cleaning Gandhi Park and segregating the waste collected under the supervision and guidance of Waste Warriors, a voluntary organization committed to solving the garbage crisis of the country. They keenly observed the method of composting and tried their hand at preliminary segregation of dry waste from organic waste. The girls also had an engaging interview session with Waste Warrior’s CEO Mr. Durgesh Raturi and Project Assistant Ms Manpreet Kaur. 

Throughout the programme the children were extremely curious, highly imaginative and creative. The growing knowledge of global waste crisis also made them mildly apprehensive. ‘Do you think we will have to transport our waste to the moon soon?’ one of them asked. 

The girls learnt valuable lessons in empathy when they were surrounded by careless litter during the clean-up drive. They were eager to know how they could help the waste pickers and help them live with dignity.

The girls also performed some fun skits and designed their own awareness campaign to educate local people on the effective methods of waste disposal and management. The girls also performed some fun skits and designed their own awareness campaign to educate local people on the effective methods of waste disposal and management. 

By the end of the programme, the girls had some interesting ideas on how to manage waste and devised laudable action plans for curbing litter and roadside dumping as well as encouraging segregation at source. We were happy to hear that this experience would stay with them for the rest of their lives.

This programme was designed and facilitated by me during my time as the Education Programme Lead for Flow India, Delhi.