Green Heart Competition: A Student-Led Initiative for Plastic Waste Management and Environmental

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Green heat comptition

The color RED is synonymous with the heart. Then why Green Heart? This green heart competition was conducted especially for Mother Earth. Before I tell you What is Green Heart Competition? I would like to share what is the inspiration behind this. It was a question that my son asked me. He was preparing for his TED ED speech. The topic was creating an interactive worksheet for segregating plastic from the source. He researched found the 5 R’s – refuse, reduces, reuses, repurposes, and recycle. The question was about the plastic that comes in packed food items like milk, flour, biscuit, Maggi, etc we cannot refuse, reduce, reuse, or repurpose as students. Even this plastic is not accepted by vendors for recycling. As a student, if I want to stop plastic from going to landfill what should be done?

My son’s curiosity and observation led to the existence of the GREEN HEART Competition. So we decided the steps on how can we make it possible

1) Plastic should be segregated from the source – this will reduce the plastic going into landfills.
2) Easy Storage – Once segregated, clean the plastic, then start stuffing it in plastic bottles. Stuffing should be very tight. squeezing plastic without leaving any space for air even. Making it an ECO-BRICK.
3) Easy disposal – Once the eco-bricks are made. They would be collected and handed over to KESAV SITA Foundation which converts the plastic into eco-fuel.

This was end to end solution of the plastic when collected at the source and converted into fuel. The challenge is the collection of plastic at the source. Answering my son’s question we launched Green Heart Competition. Students need to prepare the eco-bricks. Submit them to the school. Students who make a high number of eco-bricks would be rewarded. This is a habit-formation step. A complete month was given to make the eco-bricks.

Schools like Suyog Sunderji Wisdom School Wagholi, PDA’s English Medium School, Akrudi, Trinity International School, Yewalewadi, Maher NGO, Swasaya Foundation, Zilla Parishad School – Janta Vidyalaya, a small rural school in a remote village called Rakshaswadi in Daund District participated in this competition. More than 500 Students have participated. We were able to collect plastic of more than 120kg.

Few people like Mita Banerjee, and Headmaster Shingade from Janta Vidyalaya create the hallmark of serving Mother Earth. There is a ritual in this school. Every Friday students need to collect plastic from their nearby villages and submit it to school. To date, this school has collected more than 200kg of plastic. They have actually made it a lifestyle for their students. Every month these students collect and send it to school. From school either Mitaji or from Kesav Sita Foundation or any tempo from the village bring these bottles to Pune. They are finally given for conversion into fuel.

I am so grateful to Megha Chandvankar ma’am and Geeta Malkhani ma’am from Suyog Sunderji Wisdom School, Rupali Dhamdhere ma’am from Trinity International School, Priti Dabade Ma’am From PDEA’s English Medium School, Mr. Mangesh Pol from Maher NGO, and Ms. Shilpa from Swasya for encouraging children to become the building block in making the mother earth greener.

I am also grateful to Er. Ravishankar from IDYM for giving me an opportunity to speak at the global platform about the initiative in International Environment Protection and Awareness IEPAC 2023 conference.

Now are making this Green Heart Competition into Green Heart Campaign for throughout the year. Let us make the lifestyle of future generations segregate plastic at source. If the young generation is aware, trained, and molded in a decade we would have cooler Earth. Let’s join hands together for a greater purpose with small baby steps making changes at the grass root level.

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