May 25, 2023

Solutions to Plastic Pollution: Dehradun Cantonment shows the way

By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 6 Jun: Dehradun station is fighting plastic with passion. The World Environment Day Celebrations at Doon Sainik Institute on 5 June marked the culmination of a year-long effort to recycle and reuse plastic. Enforcing the ban on single use plastic and polythene early last year, Dehradun Cantonment came up with the unique concept of ‘Thaila Ghars’ in market places, where shoppers can pick up cloth bags at very nominal prices. These cloth bags are made from discarded clothes, bedsheets and saris by the women empowerment centres.

In an event organised to recognise the efforts of the military community residing in Dehradun Cantonment, Maj Gen Sanjeev Khattri, GOC, Uttarakhand Sub Area, presented prizes for the ‘Best Community Kitchen Garden’, ‘Best Shopping Complex’, ‘Best Park’, Best Walking Plaza’ and ‘Overall Best Resident Welfare Association’.

The Cantonment boasts of 28 beautiful parks, five regimental shopping complexes which generate zero waste, numerous community kitchen gardens nurtured through rain water harvesting projects and 12.6 kms of pathways. Polythene collected in the Cantonment is cleaned, dried and stuffed into discarded plastic bottles to create eco bricks. Eco bricks made out of PET bottles have become a low-cost alternative to conventional construction material and an interesting way to recycle and reduce waste. Butterflies and benches made of eco bricks don the Cantonment parks.

Dehradun Cantonment won the National Award for "Innovation and Best Practices" during the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav Swachhta Survekshan 2020-21. In October 2022, Landour, which forms part of Dehradun Station, was awarded for Citizen Participation in recycling and waste management in the Swachta Sarvekshan 2021-22 and also received the Atal Nirmal Nagar Puruskar 2022 from the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand for being amongst the best urban local bodies in the state.

The Cantonment uses bio-toilets made out of waste plastic sheets equipped with bio-digestors which convert waste into water by bacterial action. Sheets used to create these toilets are waterproof, corrosion free, anti-microbial and free from hazardous compounds and can again be recycled at the end of their life.

The 2 Mega Watt Solar Plant commissioned last year in Dehradun Station has 7200 photo voltaic plates and has resulted in reduction of yearly electric tariff by Rs 1.94 crores. In addition, through a combination of standalone solar trees, solar street lights and LEDisation, the station has ensured a further saving of 8,12,400 units of electricity and a reduction of Rs 45,49,440 in dues to the UPCL.

Maj Gen Khattri lauded the efforts of the MES, the units and the Stn HQs and complimented the initiatives undertaken to conserve. The Station has created 27 modern toilets in the ECHS, to cater to the comforts of its large veteran population. Dedicated to the Veteran Community, this restroom complex follows green building norms, utilises natural lighting and ventilation to provide an odour free environment.

Designed for the specially-abled, it facilitates use of modern toilet cleaning implements and conservation of water. Park Benches placed in Jaswant Ground, made out of waste plastics – (high density composite polymers) are extremely durable, sustainable, eco-friendly and help in completing the loop for a circular economy, where waste is used as raw material. Another unique initiative is the creation of an overhead cover with plast ply sheets made of food packaging material, tetra pack and food packaging films (FPEF) (such as aluminium foil) and candy polythene wrappers (CPEW), which are used in different ratios and put through a process to make them water proof and fire retardant. A walking track has been created out of interlocking tiles created out of PET bottles and waste plastic. These tiles are anti-skid, water proof and four times more durable than paver blocks. They are also easier on the joints due to the cushioning and spring effect they provide. This project is a salute to the spirit of conservation, recycling and waste management and seeks to combine the mandate of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ with the ‘Fit India Movement’.

By Our Staff Reporter Dehradun, 6 Jun: