Three months ago, a tableau, a first of its kind dedicated solely to E-waste at the Carnival parade stood out. What made it even more interesting, was the backing, execution and traction it received among the youth of Goa. A group of young volunteers with the help of the tableau tried to sensitize the people of Goa to move towards a clean digital India and help them understand on what qualifies as e-waste and what doesn’t and how it is really important to treat it differently than the normal domestic waste.
“ I was pleasantly surprised that Nascomm has embarked on this initiative. Not to spell Doomsday, we of course live in a place where no one is meant to survive, but instead of slowing it down we are considerably hastening it. Very few know the hazardous effects of that old CPU or mobile phone and its batteries once put away, and going with the belief that being aware is a bigger part of the job done, this effort courtesy Nascomm will reap rich dividends. We talk about Reduce, Reuse and Recycle which is good but still have to get rid of existing e-waste in the right way, and we are being made aware”,” said emcee Jeffery Manue.
While these efforts made an impact during the festive period, the youngsters realised that for there to be any tangible results on the ground, it would require a sustained campaign. A similar campaign was already being implemented in other cities across India but given that Goa is often criticised for its lackadaisical attitude, the Goa group decided to up the ante. And over the last three months, they have come up and are in the middle of implementing their action plan which consist of a mega collection drive and a series of workshops and activities for various stakeholders, including schools, colleges, bulk consumers, dealers, manufacturers, refurbishers and the informal sector.
The Goa project is part of the nation wide initiative, undertaken by the The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in partnership with NASSCOM Foundation, MAIT & CEAMA, to create an awareness programme on on the environmental hazards of electronic waste .
Sushant Sushant Figueiredo, a young 28 year old Aldona resident, is the project manager in Goa,who has been spearheading the campaign. They have associated with an NGO - Communicare Trust that is helping to implement the project.
The NGO had successfully organised another ‘ Zero Waste’ exhibition recently in the North and South recently, where they had coordinated with schools across Goa. Sushant gave a presentation to the government primary teachers on eWaste. The presentation included introducing the teachers to eWaste and related aspects such as consumerism leading to exponential rise in eWaste, working of a kabadiwala and about streamlining the process of waste generation, collection and disposal.
“We shared ways of managing eWaste in their schools such as organizing collection drives, keeping inventories of eWaste, having awareness programs for the students, involving the PTA etc,” said Sushant.
It ended with a poster competition with the topic ‘Eradicating the eWaste monster’ for teachers and students with the top three posters awarded prizes. Thereafter, they had an awareness presentation for all 13 Municipal Councils of Goa , that was organised by The Goa State Urban Development Agency where they emphasized on the application of ewaste rules to the councils. “Their responsibilities include channelizing orphaned eWaste to authorized collectors and recyclers and seeing to it that eWaste is properly segregated from the municipal waste stream prior to disposal. Most of them were unaware of the rules and it was very well taken,” added Sushant.
Last week, they conducted a workshop for the electronic repairers on the 1st floor of the Panaji Municipal market. It included an awareness presentation and videos and films on the harmful effects of eWaste. They were advised on how to follow hygenic prctices and reduce exposure to heavy metals, and each participant was provided with a face mask, badge, video and snacks.