READ: Waste Management? Two Ukhrul Lads Show the Way
Having done post graduation in M.Sc. Environmental in Pune, Yoyung Shaiza and Patrick Shangh, started a waste collection initiative in Ukhrul Town, something no one likes to think of doing after studying in some of the best universities of India.
They started a service initiative called ‘2S Services‘, Shaiza and Shangh which are their respective surnames. They began this in July, 2019 after having done a rough survey on the waste disposal behavior in Ukhrul Town. They officially launched it on 31st October, 2019.
Their main objectives of this unconventional initiative are “to decimate the current habit of open dumping and littering, to promote the notion of zero waste campaign, to provide the most reliable and effective facilities on disposal of waste from home, to introduce the basic of waste management system etc.” But it is learned that their work is being done on a voluntary basis as they feel people need to initially understand the importance of environmental caring.
Why people throw wastes casually? “lack of awareness , no reasoning on its impact, negligence, selfishness, and poor sense of belongingness of one’s hometown are the reasons.”
In Tangkhul Naga culture, waste collection work has nothing to be regardful from the society. It is responsibility always shouldered by people who have no education background and who mostly live below poverty who cannot afford to get better jobs. So when we asked about on how they faced and managed this low status taboo, they responded, “it is one of the biggest challenges in convincing to let them (the community) understand and putting the knowledge into practical habits is a slow process but hopefully one day it will happen (and for most of the youth its time to understand the dignity of Labour ).” Now it became very interesting to see how the citizens of the town responded to their approach for voluntary waste collection. It is learned that “families in the town are very much encouraging them for this commendable work but they (people) are also worried for the fact that the duo do not earn anything from this financially.”
However, they plan to operate this initiative on long term basis as long as they can sustain themselves. When asked whether or not the households in Ukhrul town cooperate with their work, they said approx. 20 % of them verbally appreciate and give good cooperation but practically must lesser people could only cooperate their request for smooth disposal of wastes.
We also asked them why people usually dumb their wastes very casually in the town, they said it is due to “lack of awareness , no reasoning on its impact, negligence, selfishness, and poor sense of belongingness of one’s hometown are the reasons.”
It is sure that without financial support from the initiative will struggle to sustain for longevity. Accordingly we suggested the option of converting it into a business model so that it could grow and sustain. To this, they responded that “if every household is aware of the need, yeah we can even say that it can become a sustainable business model and also can it provide employment opportunity among the community.”
Hearing their struggles and challenges they face, we asked them what message would they like to give to people in the town, to which they answered that “we need support and cooperation by understanding the principles of waste management and its advantages (coz for some they don’t get the principle of 2S Services). We want them to have a clear vision on sustainable environment. And yeah please pack the garbage in a proper manner for safe and easy handling. Specially, if possible, our humble appeal (to households) to maintain different bags for dry and wet wastes so that we can even segregate the wastes to recycle and to reuse.”
We asked them about the things that are most important for them to continue this initiative smoothly. They answered that “right now community cooperation is no. 1.
Further down we are trying our best to balance the transportation and vehicular management is a big challenge plus additional man power to help us out for smooth functioning, in the days to come, is a must.”
Finally, we asked how do they see themselves 5 years from now. They answered, “5 years down the line, we aim to create a mental and habitual consciousness on proper waste disposal and sense of responsibility to place our home town at the safest environment, where communities are ready to set for waste free town upgrading to the next level of waste utilization and a model town for zero waste.”
We observed that if people hesitate to support young people like them for the most humble and challenging voluntary works they are doing for the love of their town, then those people deserve to live among the garbage and deserve to breathe the stench of scattered rubbishes.