Location: Harihar Mandir, New Haridwar Area
Kumbh Mela and Mahashivratri celebrations in Haridwar become occasions for effective waste management and awareness with the efforts of Project Aviral
Around seven hundred devotees celebrated Mahashivratri at the annual Bhandara (feast) organized by the Harihar Mandir, a popular temple in the New Haridwar Area, and with the collaborative efforts of Project Aviral and temple authorities, waste generated at the event was minimal.
An influx of 32 lakh tourists into Haridwar for celebrating the Kumbh Mela this year gave Project Aviral a prized opportunity to effect positive behavior change for reducing waste, especially plastic waste, entering the Ganga. On the occasion of the Bhandara (Feast) to celebrate Mahashivratri at the Harihar Mandir, New Haridwar Area, Project Aviral joined hands with the temple authorities to implement waste management practices which greatly reduced dry waste generated at the event and influenced visitors about the need for source segregation, recycling, and other best practices that can divert waste away from the Ganga.
The adoption of the principle of Reduce and Reuse, whereby disposable cutlery was replaced with steel plates and spoons, formed the highlight of the event, as it helped to minimize dry waste generated. Moreover, Team Aviral installed three separate dustbins for collecting different types of wastes produced at the event i.e. Biodegradable (Food Waste), Non-Biodegradable (Clean Paper Cups, Paper Plates), Washable/Reusable (Steel Plates and Spoons). By constantly manning the dustbins and making public announcements so that guests would deposit their leftover food and cutlery into the respective dustbins, effective implementation of this system was ensured by the Aviral team. The public was very cooperative, and there was almost no resistance from them towards the team’s requests.
Once collected, the segregated waste was transported into a piggery in the case of wet waste and taken for sorting and sale to aggregators by an informal waste worker in the case of dry waste. Team Aviral also set up an awareness stall to engage the public where they displayed recycled products to showcase recovery from dry waste, and a pledge board to motivate people to commit to the practice of source segregation. Many residents were enthused by the ideas, including students, who not only signed the board with slogans about the Ganga but offered themselves as volunteers for the future undertakings of the Project.