Restore The Earth in Plastic Era

Plastic is widely used in all the three economic sectors of the world due to its numerous practical characteristics like light weight, reaction resistance and flexibility. From food packaging to electronic and machinery components, plastic is part of every thing we use in our daily life. Plastic being a major catalyser in enabling our modern life, impacts of plastic mismanagement paint an unequivocally toxic picture. One of the major threat to biodiversity is mismanagement of single use plastic(SUP). The problem gets predominantly worsened with the rampant use of SUP and throwing them without a concern which block the waterways, endangers marine ecosystem, exacerbate natural disasters and when burnt emit toxic emissions.

Earth Day in 2018 with theme End Plastic Pollution, led to series of discussions on plastic pollution with Tarumitra members from various school and colleges in Tarumitra Ashram. Over several ideas, an idea to imprison SUP in PET bottles to make “ecobrick” was appreciated and agreed, as it can keep SUP stuffed inside PET bottle Segregated and uncontaminated form rest of the waste. This idea to make ecobrick will not allow SUP to contaminate environment, won’t clog the drains, would prevent from going to water bodies, stray animals won’t be able to eat them.

Tarumitra members form various schools have been imprisoning single use plastic in PET bottles and making ecobricks to ensure it doesn’t get into environment to pollute our rivers or oceans. Many educational Institutions have joined the campaign to End Plastic Pollution. In Tarumitra Ashram we have have been receiving pile of these eco bricks since then. As we did not had any infrastructure in our city to utilize/ recycle these single use plastics Tarumitra members decided to build a hut out of these ecobricks. Tarumitra members examined and stuffed more single use plastic in each bottle so a wall could be built out of these ecobricks.

Since last few months few of Tarumitra friends in Municipal Corporation and UNDP have been talking about upcoming Material Recovery Facility in Patna to process plastic waste generated to recyclers in other cities. This Material Recovery Facility is funded by Coca Cola as part of their Extended Producers Responsibility, land is being provided by Patna Municipal Corporation, Technical guideline and capacity building is being contributed by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and UNDP. In February 2021 the Material Recovery Facility for plastic waste was finally up for processing plastic waste. After trial and test for two months this facility is operational and is being managed by “Nav Jagriti” an organization authorized by Patna Municipal Corporation. Mr Ajay Kumar the manager of Nav Jagriti said the facility installed can process five metric tonne of plastic waste every day.

Generally people feel grief when they see their dream house being shattered into pieces, moreover when it’s still under construction. However for me and for every Tarumitra Member who made every effort to built this dream hut in Tarumitra Ashram are celebrating it on occasion of Earth Day 2021. Tarumitra Members are content to learn that their efforts of last three years has taken new leap of circular economy and directly coinciding with SDG 12 “Sustainable Consumption and Production.

UNDP Program Officer for Plastic Waste Management Mr. Arvind Kumar arranged collection of ecobricks from Tarumita on 21 April 2021 and said “involvement of Educational Institution to inspire and enable opportunity for youth and younger generations is crucial as inculcating habits at young age is easier as young minds are more receptive”.

In last 3 years Tarumitra members have prevented nearly 1150 kilograms of plastic waste entering our environment. This number may sound little less than a grain of sand when we see the scale of problem i.e 8 million tonne of plastic entering the ocean every year, however out little efforts are expanding in various cities of India and we are determined to turn the tide right way. Many interns and volunteers are joining the campaign to take it to more schools and communities in Patna in collaboration with UNDP, PMC and Nav Jagriti. Ensure source segregation of plastic waste in Patna and collection of segregated plastic waste by Nav Jagriti for Recycling.

Plastic Free Holika Dahan 2021

The festival of Holi is one of the most important ones and is celebrated all through the northern part of country with utmost fervor. It marks the beginning of springtime, harvest of pulses, wheat etc and is a festival of colors.  It begins a night prior with Holika Dahan wherein we collect sticks and old logs and burn them in a pyre.

This auspicious ritual too has evolved with time. Now a days heaps of garbage such as plastic bags, old tyres, rubber products, leather cuttings and other waste materials too are collected for the Holika Dahan.

With Holika Dahan just a few days away, Tarumitra interns form Patna Science College, A.N College, College of Commerce and Central University of South Bihar conducted a survey on the ingredients of material collected to be torched on Holika Dahan and discussed environmental impact on city and health impact on residents.

The discussion reviled burning of such materials in Holika dahan would emit CO, SO2, NOx, VOCs, PAHs,(PCBs); and heavy metals. Various research papers confirms exposure to such emissions leads to acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health hazards. Depending on the length and degree of exposure, these health effects could include irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, respiratory effects, central nervous system depression, and cancer.

As per PWM Rules 2016 and SWM Rules 2016 open burning of such materials are prohibited.

These interns met DM, and PMC Assistant Commissioner to raise the issue.
Mr Kumar Ravi has assured all his support to raise action based awareness with Tarumitra. Ms Sheela Irani as promised to send PMC vehicle with some of their workforce, however she also raised concern of religious sentiments of public as they may not like people from marginalized community touching the holy pile of holika dahan so Tarumitra interns have taken responsibility to segregate tyres, plastic material and other harmful items form the heap, hand them over to PMC and conduct public awareness program

On March 27th on pre-eve of Holika Dahan Tarumitra Interns and volunteers gathered at Ramnagri More. Removed old Tyres, broken chairs, and various kind of plastic. Assistant Commissioner Ms Sheela Irani had arranged a truck to take away the segregated harmful substances form Holika heap. Thereafter Tarumitra members reached out to nearby residents to inform residents about their activity and aware them about the harmful impacts of burning tyres, plastics and other items. Residents of the locality agreed to the fact that as they live in those and would be severely exposed to the harmful fumes and may attract chronic disease in long run.

Synergise climate crisis initiatives and empower climate vulnerable community

Society of Sisters of St. Ann, Luzern in Vijayawada are working for upliftment of unmarried mothers, women, youth, landless and small farmers of marginalized communities since last 7 decades and have observed the catastrophe in the region. Sister Suguna Francis realized an urgent requirement of self sustainability programs, awareness, education and sustainable agriculture practices are required on a massive scale for these population to withstand impacts of climate change.

Climate change has emerged as the most pressing global challenge of the 21st century. Being a developing country India is both a major greenhouse gas emitter and one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to projected climate change. A decline in monsoon rainfall since the 1950s has already been observed. The country is experiencing changes in climate and the impacts of climate change such as water stress, heat waves and drought, severe storms and flash floods, and associated negative consequences on agriculture, food security, water scarcity, deforestation, health and livelihood. With a 1.2 billion but growing population and dependence on agriculture, India is severely impacted by continuing climate change. Uncertainties in monsoon is affecting farmers’ choices about which crops to plant and the timing of planting impacting reducing productivities.

In a country so prone to natural hazards, the welfare of those who are affected and who have limited means to recover will loom large under climate change. About a quarter of the population lives on less than Rs 50 a day; at least one-third face poverty, lack of educational opportunities and 60 percent are dependent upon agriculture for their livelihoods. Those who lack financial resources and adequate education and who depend on agriculture for sustenance and livelihood will be disadvantaged under climate change because they have few choices but continued dependence on shrinking or uncertain resources. An urgent demand of relief programs, awareness, education and skill development is required on a massive scale for these population to enable withstand impacts of climate change.

A pro women multi-sectorial, risk informed and shock responsive approach is designed to strengthen marginalized community and villages. An integrated program for food security, land management, water management and sanitation for better health through rural advisory services and farmer field education to equip women and youth with capabilities to tackle climate change. Foundation with 200 saplings have been laid on 3 acre land to develop it as bio-reserve.

Women of marginalized community were trained and involved in various integrated interactive sustainable practices and activities to enhance their knowledge and leadership qualities. These women, youth are to be promoted and supported to take leading role in enhancing lives of vulnerable communities members.

Eco Exposure Camp – LEAF Group, GJEM Gujarat

On December 10 2019 one day Eco exposure camp was organised for students from St Xavier School, Khambhat at GJEM 10 acre premises at Sevasi. Fr Saju Bastian from Hazaribag Province, GJEM teams and Films director Mr. Allwyn Rabella engaged students in various ecological activities and encourages them to write some stories for next project.

Fr Saju Bastian helped students explore eco-spirituality in our daily life and our symbiotic relation to nature and other fellow beings. Trupti and Nikunj coordinated students in kitchen garden, discussed issue of weed and pesticides in conventional farming. Students suggested a scientific solution to control weed “block sunlight to control germination on unwanted areas”. They collected all dried leaves and mulched the fields. Lately some students were also found making ecobricks with wrappers of eatable the brought with them.

Deputy Chief Minister Inaugurates Organic Rice Harvest Festival 2019

Report by

Devopriya Dutta

Patna 4th Dec: Jaivik Dhan Katni Mahotsav, the most eagerly awaited Organic Festival was celebrated by Tarumitra. More than 22 schools and colleges participated in this gala celebration.Shree Sushil Kumar Modi, the Honorable Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar was the Chief guest. 

Since 2011, Tarumitra has adopted organic way of cultivation. The entire rice sowing, harvesting and threshing works are done by school and college going students. 

The program started with Fr.Tony Pendanath, Director of Tarumitra welcoming the guests. The event started with sowing of seeds with the students chanting shloka from the Rigveda. Honourable Deputy Chief Minister was felicitated by students with green robes and Sita Ashok sapling.

The students of various schools and colleges threw light on the importance of organic and respect for Mother Earth with several speeches and action plans.

Then the school band procession led the guests with the gathering towards organic farm for harvesting. Deputy Chief Minister performed aarti in the farm. After performing the aarti as a reverence to Mother earth, he started Dhan Katni in Tarumitra’s organic farm, amidst harvesting song and slogans sung joyfully by all the students. 

The Honourable Deputy Chief Minister, Shri Sushil Kumar Modi threw light on the agricultural landmark of the country specially Bihar. He said that our country is an agricultural economy and the heart lies in the nature. He said that this organic movement needs momentum for a healthy future and who better to spearhead it than the youth.

Since 2011 organic farming is being practiced in Tarumitra, where all the Sowing, Harvesting and Threshing is done by the students. It is an effort to strike an emotional chord between Mother Earth and students so they may practice and promote ecological sensitivity all around.

This is the ninth consecutive year of organic farming where system of rice intensification(SRI) method is used for growing rice. This year Bauna Mansuri(variety of Dhaan) has been harvested in 5 acres of organic farm of Tarumitra. Students had their share of experience, for some it was the first time entering into an organic farm for doing harvesting with sickle. 

Fr.Tony Pendanath, Director, Tarumitra said that organic should be promoted from home to school, from office to corporate houses to ensure better tomorrow. 

This is the 9th consecutive year that Tarumitra was celebrating organic festival and this year’s yield is likely to be record breaker. Several teachers, interns, and other volunteers and members of Tarumitra were also present during this program.     

Extra moments of the day :

LEAF Program – St Xavier School, Kalol, Mehasana

One day ecological program was conducted by GJEM’s Green The Blue Trust members I joined them from Tarumitra as collaborative

50 selected students from grade 8 & 9 are part of LEAF group (Leaders in Environmental Action Force) being equipped to tackle ecological problems emerged in 21st century. GJEM conducts on an average 8 full day programs annually

Day started with Tarumitra orientation and beat plastic pollution campaign by S Darshan from Tarumitra and After lunch Break Trupti conducted news paper bag making activity and developed circular nutrition kitchen garden also called GANGA-CHAKRA under guidance of Mrs. Archana Xavier in school campus.

Energy level and enthusiasm to undertake ecological solutions to curb human footprint among the LEAF members is exceptionally high. In lunch break two of the LEAF member Kalpit and Shubham of grade 9 & 8 respectively were found collecting plastic scattered in school campus and imprisoning in pet bottles. Students of St Xavier School, Kalol are using there leisure periods in school to make

Students enjoyed the News Paper bag, an alternative to plastic carry bags making activity presented by Trupti,. They promised to make at least 5 bags every day to be distributed at shops near by.

Lately all LEAF members gathered to develop a GANGA-CHAKRA. GANGA-CHAKRA is a circular garden with 3 meter of diameter divided in 9 parts for nine verities of vegetable. The circle is divided wit 8 reduces of 45 degrees each and inner circle with 1 meter radius is drawn from the center for the ninth part. Students were divided in 9 groups. Every group prepared their own area in the GANGA-CHAKRA brought water to irrigate it and sowed vegetable seeds of their own choice brought by LEAF Team.

Students sounded enthusiastic with their own initiatives in the school campus and are determined to propagate ecological solutions in locality. Few students expressed their desire to replicate GANGA-CHAKRA at there home.

Ecological Orientation in Meghalaya: Abode of the rain clouds

Tarumitra was invited to Shillong the capital city of Meghalaya! A team consisting of Devopriya Dutta and Shweta Kumari spent a week in the city meeting with students and staff of a hundred year old St. Mary’s School and St. Mary’s Degree College. They came back very excited seeing the good will and bubbliing energy of the students.

Solutions to combat plastic pollution by a possible habit change was well addressed by Miss Asha, B.A. IIIrd year of St. Mary’s College.

A weeklong ecological awareness program in St. Mary’s College started on 24th of July and Tarumitra team of Devopriya and Shweta kept themselves busy every day for a week.

St, Mary's Campus

St, Mary’s Campus

on 25th of July. St. Mary’s College had invited Tarumitra to interact with thestudents for ecological awareness program and design action plans to assist Mother Earth.

Vice Principal of College & Chief  Conservator of Forest, Meghalaya accompanied by Tarumitra team.

Vice Principal of College & Chief Conservator of Forest, Meghalaya accompanied by Tarumitra team.

Function started with the inauguration ceremony on 25 th of July
where the Chief guests Chief Conservator of Forest of Meghalaya and DeputyComissioner of Khasi region, Meghalaya. Tarumitra’s Devopriya Dutta and Shweta were the resource people.

Dr. Sr. Mary Harriet receiving sapling

Dr. Sr. Mary Harriet receiving sapling

Tarumitra handed over green saplings all the way from Patna, Bihar for the green inaugural. The Principal of St.Mary’s College, Dr. Sister Mary Harriet welcomed one and all.

Devopriya Dutta's brainstorming session

Devopriya Dutta’s brainstorming session

Next day from 26th of July Tarumitra started interacting with students of different departments on daily basis, four sessions a day. Introduction of Tarumitra was common part in all the sessions followed by different action plans like Eco brick, seed bombs, street play, flash mob, brain storming session. Tarumitra covered nearly 3000 students in the college comprising of 19 departments.

Tarumitra was also successful in conducting a green morning assembly for 1900 students In St. Mary’ school where everybody took pledge to save Mother Earth. Interactive sessions with the students and staff including the Principal, sister Sonia was one of the highlights of green orientation in the school which lasted for an hour.

Sunday well spent with 100 kids of St. Mary's Home

Sunday well spent with 100 kids of St. Mary’s Home.

During the week long ecological programme, a visit was made to the
orphanage of St. Mary’s convent which turned out to be one of the best
sessions of Shillong’s ecological trip. The kids were really happy to know about Tarumitra Friends of Trees and all of them after an orientation about the campaigns of Tarumitra, said that we the people are the reason for all the problems like global warming, climate change, pollution and its we the people only who can come up with solutions.

Eco friendly Administrative & Management staff of St Mary's college along with  Tarumitra Delegates

Eco friendly Administrative & Management staff of St Mary’s college along with Tarumitra Delegates

A weeklong tour came to an end where teachers of the college presented the green report . The teachers proposed to make a green belt in the college for rare and medicinal plants along with beating the plastic pollution by
prohibiting the use of single use plastics at least in the college premises.

Action plan designed by students on ecological theme

Action plan designed by students on ecological theme

Even the students of the college for the very first time did a street play, performed flash mob, sang earth songs and came up with beautiful posters with eco friendly messages and slogans.

[wpedon id=1061]