Spectrum: Motivating people to dispose waste responsibly

 Citizen forums in Hubballi and Dharwad are creating awareness about waste management and eco-friendly living.

Despite various restrictions, plastic trash is omnipresent in public places. The lakes in Dharwad district are not an exception. It is heartening to see environmentally-aware volunteers fighting the plastic menace by regularly cleaning up waterbodies in Hubballi and Dharwad. One such team is led by tree-translocation expert Aslamjahan Abbihal. His team cleans the historical Kelageri tank on weekends. The members of the team include students and self-employed youngsters like auto drivers, painters, carpenters, masons and artisans. 

As the Plastic-Free Tuesday campaign gains momentum globally, a few like-minded friends of Aslam have been following the concept on weekends. Mudassar Dharwadkar, a team member, says, “We consciously don’t use plastic on plastic-free weekends. We don’t buy plastic products or anything packed with plastic.”

Along with waste collection and management, the team is also engaged in the beautification of the tank premises, by keeping the tank surroundings clean and even painting the jogging path. Their conviction to free public places of plastic is hailed by city dwellers who say that such works motivate others to join hands, resulting in a positive ripple effect. In Hubballi-Dharwad, several voluntary organisations have been engaged in the conservation and maintenance of local ecosystems like public gardens, lakes and heritage buildings. Here’s an overview of some such efforts.

Nagammataayi Mahila Mandal of Mahila Vidyapeetha has been creating awareness about menstrual hygiene and sanitary waste disposal. The members of North Karnataka Birder’s Association are involved in bringing awareness about bird-friendly living and eco-tourism among school and college students.

Nature Club, Hubballi regularly organises seminars and symposiums in colleges and screens short films and documentaries to promote eco-friendly living. Dharwad Bonds is a team that is not only active on social media but also believes in ground-level volunteering. It has been cleaning and beautifying the streets, wells and lakes of the city. 

Hubballi-Dharwad Nagarika Parisara Samiti has been working in liaison with the district administration to plant trees, maintain the saplings, and organise workshops on waste management in schools. Nature Research Center, Dharwad engages in rescue, treatment and rehabilitation of wounded animals, training volunteers for rescue operations, dealing with medical emergencies, and creating plastic-free colonies.

Applauding these efforts, Venkatesh Desai, a trustee of Alur Venkatrao Trust,  Dharwad, says, “I am happy to see seniors guiding youngsters to clean and maintain lake premises.” K K Teragunti, a senior lawyer in Dharwad High Court, says, “It is motivating to see youngsters cleaning jogger’s path, setting tree guards right, painting compound walls, or erecting sign boards regularly.” Such activities inspired banker Aravind Joshi to clean gutters of his locality and do waste segregation. 

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Spectrum: Motivating people to dispose waste responsibly

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