Initiation of Awareness Generation Activities For the SUNYA Project Implementation

With support from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Siliguri Municipal Corporation is implementing a project on Capacity Building for Low Carbon and Climate Resilient City Development in India (CapaCITIES). ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia is the main implementation agency of the project. As part of this project, ICLEI South Asia in coordination with Siliguri Municipal Corporation has initiated a pilot project on Zero Waste (SUNYA) in ward 2 and 17. One of the components of this initiative focusses on awareness generation. One such activity was conducted in Ward number 17 in the Siliguri Girls’ High School on 19th December 2017. The event was attended by Mr. Asok Bhattacharya, Mayor, SMC; Mr. Mukul Sengupta, MMIC (Conservancy, Vehicle & Environment), SMC; Mr. Parimal Mitra, MMIC (Slum Development, UPE); Dr. Shankar Ghosh, MMIC (Education & Culture, Sports); Dr. Monalisa Sen, City Coach, ICLEI South Asia and Mr. Souhardhya Chakraborty, City Associate, ICLEI South Asia.

The dignitaries were welcomed by Smt. Shefali Sinha, Head Mistress, Siliguri Girls High School. In her introductory remarks she expressed her happiness and gratitude for the school to have been selected to be a part of a prestigious project like SUNYA.

Addressing the students on the occasion, Mr Asok Bhattacharya stressed on the need to address the issue of solid waste management in Siliguri. He also emphasized that this will not only help address health issues, but will also contribute to enhancing the overall aesthetic value of the city. He further added that the success of the SUNYA in the pilot phase will lay the foundation stone to expand this initiative to the entire city.

Mr. Mukul Sengupta highlighted the challenges of climate change in the world as well as in Siliguri. He stressed upon the importance of reducing the emission of green house gases, which are the main cause of climate change. He discussed about the work being carried out by SMC for solid waste management in the city. He also mentioned that public participation and cooperation is critical for success of the SUNYA model.

Mr. Parimal Mitra emphasized on the importance of the SUNYA project and the need for implementing the same in Siliguri. He called upon all citizens to extend whole hearted support to the project and help make the initiative a grand success.

Dr. Shankar Ghosh through a presentation conveyed the need and methodology to be followed for the SUNYA project and role of school students in advocating the same. He also brought out the need for at source segregation of waste and how to handle the different components of waste (organic, metal, plastic etc) in different ways in order to ensure reuse and recycling. He highlighted that students are the future of tomorrow and play a critical role in ensuring the success of any community initiative, like SUNYA.

Mr. Souhardhya Chakraborty coordinated a short interactive quiz session with the students on different aspects of solid waste management, which witnessed very high level of participation from the students.

Dr. Monalisa Sen informed that ICLEI South Asia has successfully implemented the SUNYA model in many cities in India and neighbouring countries and the organization with the support of SMC will work towards the success of the same in Siliguri as well.

The event was highly appreciated and more such awareness generation activities will be carried out in schools and colonies in wards 2 and 17 during the implementation of SUNYA initiative, as public participation is critical for the success of SUNYA.