Pune: Waste-Pickers to Collect Nirmalya Directly From Your Doorstep And Send It For Composting

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Pune, August 28, 2020: Citizens can now handover Nirmalya to SWaCH waste pickers at their doorstep which will then be handled and sent for organic composting separately. Nirmalya collection will be done today, on 30th August and 2nd September.


“We appeal to citizens- 30 lakh plus citizens we service – to handover their Nirmalya separately and we will send Ganapati Bappas offerings to compost respectfully in separate special bags”, said Saru Waghmare, Swach Waste-picker and Board member.


Pune celebrates Ganesh festival with fervor every year and the Visarjan that follows is also a festival in itself with people rallying up as volunteers, the colours, the offerings and the idols in their journey to the immersion at the river ghats, all making for a beautiful fun filled celebration.


Every year waste-pickers of SWaCH in partnership with PMC, Cummins India, Emcure and Sudarshan Chemicals divert 100+ Tonnes of Nirmalya from our rivers towards composting. This year the fervor and the devotion have not dimmed but given the pandemic situation, there is no recourse to the Ganesh Visarjan or Ganpati Idol immersion at riverside Ghats.


In keeping with the safety guidelines, SWaCH too has geared up to a new system to collect and facilitate the processing of the Nirmalya offerings.


Suchismita Pai, SWaCH representative said “Over the years we have been interacting with citizens and have brought about a behavioral change whereby devotees handover the Nirmalya to our waste pickers at the ghats, which is then composted and distributed to local farmers. This year, with PMC and Cummins India support, we have distributed 11,000 special bags to our network of 3500 waste pickers just for Nirmalya collection and we request citizens to hand over the Nirmalya offerings to their Door Step SWaCH waste-picker. This material will be transported in separate PMC vehicles and sent for organic composting.”


Urging citizens to stay safe during the Ganesh celebrations, the Mayor of Pune City Murlidhar Mohol outlined the guidelines issued by the PMC that will enable a happy and safe festival. “The Ganesh festival is a very important part of Pune’s tradition and culture. It is a very prestigious event and we must ensure that we all celebrate it safely. There are guidelines for various aspects of the celebration and for Visarjan this year, after the immersion of the idols at homes or in societies, SWaCH waste pickers will be collecting organic items like flowers, durva, leaves etc used in the puja for facilitating proper handling and processing.”


With all other safety measures in place, the collection system will also be slightly different says DS Molak, Jt. Commissioner PMC. “This year since there will not be immersion at the ghats/riverside, for the convenience of the citizens, PMC plans to provide a collection of Nirmalya from every household through its ‘Door-to-door’ collection network of 3500 SWaCH waste pickers. On 28th August, 30th August and 2nd September citizens can handover the separately kept Nirmalya to SWaCH waste pickers. There will be no mixing with any other waste and trucks have been assigned to take just the Nirmalya so collected.”


This comes in line with other guidelines issued by the PMC at the start of the festival in which the PMC had directed that all immersions were to happen at homes and /or within society premises or in mobile immersion trucks deployed by the PMC. It also recommended that POP murtis be avoided or immersed in water along with ABC Powder, available at each kothi and ward office of the PMC.


Shobha Bansode, a waste picker who has been at the ghats every year during Visarjan says “We adapted to working with PPE over the past 4 months and have been at work everyday despite the trying times. This is yet another change that we must adapt to. We draw comfort from the fact that we are still facilitating the work of the Ganesh festival. We do it out of a sense of devotion and duty and that is still present in all we do.”