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

Content Courtesy: Rommal Surana

The color red is often associated with the heart, but why not the color green? The Green Heart Competition was created specifically for Mother Earth. Before diving into what the competition entails, it's important to understand its inspiration. My son asked me a question while preparing for his TED ED speech about creating an interactive worksheet for segregating plastic from the source. The topic led him to discover the five R's: refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle. However, he was unsure about how to handle plastic that comes in packed food items like milk, flour, biscuits, and Maggi that students cannot refuse, reduce, reuse, or repurpose. Even vendors do not accept this type of plastic for recycling. He asked me what he could do to prevent plastic from going to landfills.

My son's curiosity and observation sparked the creation of the Green Heart Competition. We established steps to make it possible:

  1. Segregate plastic from the source to reduce the amount going into landfills.

  2. Easily store the plastic by cleaning and stuffing it tightly into plastic bottles to create an eco-brick.

  3. Easily dispose of the eco-bricks by collecting them and handing them over to the KESAV SITA Foundation, which converts the plastic into eco-fuel.

This end-to-end solution addressed the plastic problem when collected at the source and converted into fuel. However, the challenge was collecting plastic at the source, which led us to launch the Green Heart Competition. Students were required to prepare eco-bricks and submit them to their school. Those who made the most eco-bricks were rewarded. This was a habit-forming step, and students were given one month to create the eco-bricks.

Schools such as Suyog Sunderji Wisdom School Wagholi, PDEA's English Medium School Akurdi, Trinity International School Yewalewadi, Maher NGO, Swasaya Foundation, and Zilla Parishad School - Janta Vidyalaya, a small rural school in a remote village called Rakshaswadi in Daund District, participated in the competition, with over 500 students taking part. We collected over 120kg of plastic.

Individuals like Mita Banerjee and Headmaster Shingade from Janta Vidyalaya have set an example for serving Mother Earth. The school has a weekly ritual where students collect plastic from nearby villages and submit it to the school. To date, they have collected more than 200kg of plastic and have made it a lifestyle for their students. Every month, students collect and send plastic to the school, which is then transported to Pune by either Mitaji, the KESAV SITA Foundation, or a tempo from the village, where it is converted into fuel.

I am grateful to Megha Chandvankar, Geeta Malkhani, Rupali Dhamdhere, Priti Dabade, Mr. Mangesh Pol, and Ms. Shilpa for encouraging children to become building blocks in making Mother Earth greener.

I also appreciate Er. Ravishankar from IDYM for giving me an opportunity to speak at the International Environment Protection and Awareness IEPAC 2023 conference about this initiative.

We are now turning the Green Heart Competition into the Green Heart Campaign for the entire year. Let's make segregating plastic at the source a lifestyle for future generations. If we educate and mold the younger generation over the next decade, we can create a cooler Earth. Let's come together and make changes at the grassroots level. For more information, please contact Rommal Surana at +91 7709047790,

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