It’s everywhere, impacting our existence in adverse ways. Once hailed as a big invention, rampant and indiscriminate use of plastic in the world has now made it an environmental challenge that is overwhelming. Environmentalists are even calling it an epidemic, what with . Globally, about 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced annually to make bags, bottles, packages, and other commodities. Of this, only 10 per cent is recycled and reused, while the rest ends up in landfills, oceans, and natural environment, leeching into our soil, seafood, and being ingested by animals and humans.

Earth Day 2018 was aimed at addressing plastic waste and ending plastic pollution. SDC Foundation hosted its second successful SDC Talks on Earth Day, which was attended by 200 citizens of Dehra Dun from all walks of life – academicians, scientists, rag pickers, members of civil society, students from the city’s education institutions, and bureaucrats.

On the panel of SDC Talks Earth Day were Municipal Commissioner Dehra Dun Vijay Kumar Jogdande and Naveen Kumar Sadana, Outrearch and Operations Manager for Waste Warriors. Interactive discussions included the efforts that the community and the administration are taking in creating a sustainable, clean and hygienic city to live in. The audience and panelists deliberated on various issues ranging from burning of waste, role of the informal sector in the waste economy, recycling of plastic material, plastic ban and composting models for households and residential societies.

Gati Foundation also invited green workers – ragpickers, segregation workers, drivers – who shared real-life experiences in the waste management sector. Municipal Commissioner Jogdande also felicitated the green workers with “Samman Awards” from SDC Foundation.

With active participation from the audience, several action points were noted down, which included disseminating the toll-free numbers issued by Nagar Nigam for attending the complaints of the citizens regarding waste, encouraging RWAs to have their own composting solutions and developing a framework for the welfare of green workers.

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