Port Blair, March 17: For the first time in the islands, the Port Blair Municipal Council has launched an awareness programme called “Do It Yourself”, which will cover all the 18 wards under the Municipality. The aim of this programme is to spread awareness among the city dwellers on proper segregation and disposal of waste generated in the households.

The awareness programme began on 16th March 2013 at the Community Hall, Dairy Farm wherein the Chairperson PBMC, Shri P.B. Murugan launched the programme in the presence of Shri Rakesh Bali, Secretary, Municipal Council. The programme began with a welcome address by Smti. Zamila Bibi, Chairperson, Public Health & Sanitation which was followed by extempos by the school children.

On the occasion a multi-media presentation on ‘Waste and Island Ecosystem’ was presented by the Assistant Director of Andaman & Nicobar Environmental Team (ANET), Ms. Tasneem Khan, who expressed the urgent need for a proper waste disposal mechanism in the islands.

Ms. Khan said that it is not too late for the islanders to address the issue, as the waste generated in the islands is mere 0.50% when compared to metropolitan cities like Bangaluru. While the islands generate 70 tonnes per day of waste including bio-degradable and non-biodegradable wastes, the waste generated in Bangaluru is at present 13000 Tonnes per day. And that gives a sigh of relief.

Expressing concern on never ending plastic accumulation in the islands, the Assistant Director in simple words explained how it has been affecting the Islands’ Eco System, which indirectly affects the health of the islanders. It was also demonstrated how segregation of wastes can begin at home, which would facilitate proper disposal.

Dr. Rishikesh, Member Secretary, Andaman & Nicobar Pollution Control Committee, in his presentation explained that the concept of plastic was brought in for the convenience of the people, which can never be stopped. He said that it becomes our duty not only to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but also to Refuse at the first instance.

Narrating his experience in the islands, Rishikesh said that before the advent of plastic carry bags, islanders used to carry cloth bags with steel utensils to purchase wet food. This can still be done, provided there is a will and encouragement. He also said that there is nothing called ‘waste’, if it is carefully understood. The so called waste is generated when we do not understand how it can be re-used. Right from the bio-degradable wastes to plastic wastes that is generated can be re-used in some form or the other, which in turn would fetch us money, said Rishikesh.  

Shri Vijay Kumar, Sanitary Inspector on the occasion announced that the Port Blair Municipal Council has already taken a step with regards to proper segregation and disposal of wastes. As a first step, in Ward No. 8, a residential committee has been formed, which would inspect and spread the message on the need for the mission. Such committees would be formed in all the 18 wards gradually, he said.

The Port Blair Municipal Council is also planning in a big way to spread awareness and to involve the community directly in the mission. Awareness campaigns will be conducted on a regular basis in all the wards, which would overlap with training programmes for sanitary workers at different levels.

Among the others who attended the launch function, were members of the NGOs, local residents, school children, staffs and officers of the Municipal Council. The awareness programmes, waste disposal mechanisms,  segregation, trainings etc. shall be conducted under the active supervision of the Sanitary Officer, PBMC, Shri Vijay Tiwari.