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Swachhata Hi Seva

December 19, 2019

Since its invention, plastic has been seen by us as a necessary evil. It seems like something
that cannot be replaced, considering its convenience, cost efficiency and durability. The
evidence of our complete dependence on plastic can simply be verified by tracing our own
steps through the day. At any given hour, all we have to do is look around ourselves to see
how plastic has become a prominent part of our lives. From our shampoo bottles to our
grocery bags, plastic is used everywhere. So is it possible to imagine a world without
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimate from 2012, India produces
close to 26,000 tonnes of plastic a day. What makes this bad situation worse is the fact that
a little over 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste remains uncollected. Single-use plastic is
one of the biggest challenges for the country as far as waste management is concerned.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “Single-use plastics, often
also referred to as disposable plastics, are commonly used for plastic packaging and include
items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.”
Recognizing the tremendous threat this poses to the ecological system of India, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Swachhata hi Sewa” campaign to end the use of
single-use plastic. The Prime Minister, in his address on the 73rd Independence Day – 15th
August 2019 urged the nation to make all possible efforts by all to make India free from
single-use plastic through a community mass mobilization.


In solidarity, HCL Samuday has implemented a week-long “Swachhata hi Sewa” campaign
from 23rd September to 1st October 2019. This campaign was undertaken with the following
1. Mass level awareness generation on the ban of single-use plastics
2. Knowledge dissemination regarding waste management
3. Shramdaan for swachhata
4. Collection of single-use plastics dumped in the intervention areas (164 Gram Panchayats)
The campaign strove to instil a sense of responsibility towards the environment across the
participating villages, creating a mass movement for adoption of alternatives to single-use
plastics and the collection & management of plastic waste through mass mobilization. HCL
Samuday’s initiative was able to strategically reach out to 1,00,000 rural households
across the three intervention blocks, i.e. Kachhauna, Kothawan, Behadar with a total of 492
hours of shramdaan. 1400 kgs of plastic waste were successfully collected from the target
areas. All of which was then disposed of through Umang Sunehra Kal Sewa Samiti and
Rosa Power Plant. All in all, the outcome of the campaign was a successful one.
The community participation led by HCL Samuday played a major role in the success of the
on-ground activations. It always comes down to the people. If the people of Hardoi did not
rally together to work towards responsible waste management, all campaign efforts would
have gone to waste. All the planning, awareness generation efforts and community
mobilization efforts through interpersonal communication and extracurricular activities were
able to bear fruit because the community is conscious and open to knowledge.
However, our progress does not end with one campaign. Like the people of Hardoi, we need
to work together as a community if we want to see long term positive changes. It is time we
take ownership of our roles in the effort to make India a plastic waste-free country. Together,
let’s take a stand for the sustainable development of our country. Being ecologically
conscious cannot be a whim for us. We must internalise these changes and work towards
reducing, reusing, and recycling single-use plastic.


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