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Alvedande venture 2015-2017

STARTING POINT

Khushi parisara considers that the reasons behind the excess of malinya parisara do not result from the high population density, but from density of ignorance (avidya); it is not also because there is bad or ill-will, but because of un-mindfulness and unawareness.

In order to reduce and eradicate malinya parisara is just necessary to update or provide knowledge. Natural goodwill, care and investment will bring the resolve for remediation.

We can only find and implement solutions once we understand the causes of deterioration and act upon them. When we see the suffering, harm and dosha we have caused unknowingly and unwillingly, our generous nature will immediately develop the right action. Gradually, the needed corrections are made.

Khushi Parisara projects foster the population’s wise up on how to find individual, collective and global solutions putting them into practice.

A protective approach to environment leads all of us to examine our actions and see their actual result, recognizing that certain habits are harmful. Then we will want our basic goodwill to be more than just an idea, we want to apply it scrupulously in every situation possible, and practice it. Inevitably, that goodwill will have a noticeable impact.

Based on this, it was all about to develop new good practices, efficiently adjusted to the precarious environmental context.

We sought to close the loop that can lead to a sustainable change: information – knowledge – awareness – mindfulness – practice

It has positively proved possible to generally develop these conceptual guidelines except with the local bodies and local administration. Public reacted as positively, as administration and power bodies reacted negatively.

Now, without a paired action (public/governors) no action is bound to be sustained, more sustainable it could be.

A. ALVEDANDE

1. BACKGROUND

Alvedande is a small village (at Kumta backwaters) predominantly composed of Gabit community (fishermen).

It is our home village, where we are installed.

For that our work there should have been a success and still it was remarkable a failure.

It was certainly difficult in the beginning given its socio-anthropological profile.

Actually, the population was (and still is) fully disregarded by the local bodies as the most uneducated, unaware, unqualified, outright, illiterate, etc., etc.. However, this fishermen community with which we have started our work was ready to prove that they could be capable of managing their extremely difficult conditions optimizing them in a very innovative way.

And, against the general disregard of its capabilities, we believed that, assisted with good sustenance, they were powerfully capable to tackle their severe environmental issues (sanitary & waste) in the best way, apt to become a model in Uttara Kannada, triggering further action in all District.

Then, with Khushi Parisara leading the finest actions and planning several projects together, the local youth started to become aware of the potential of their networking with those stakeholders qualified for helping and supporting their commitment for a change, for a better life.

2. OPENING

The village was busting garbage everywhere – despite some of it being burned early morning in the choola, some of it dumped on the drain, on the river, on the seashore or on the ocean. Also, as everywhere else, the open defecation in the village is a rule.

This is very much a common pattern shared among all of us. But also, as some of us have done somewhere else, here we have decided to give a try to clean up around – and keep clean. We put hands up and we created Khushi Parisara to tackle the so critical environmental issues at stake.

3. RAISING

a) We have approached the Gram Panchayat of Kalbhag to find a solution to the general pollution and we requested to urgently spread, by the most efficient means, information on Plastic & Waste Rules among the polluting stakeholders  involved

  1. fix a warning board at the most endangered zone of open defecation.
  2. provide updated list of households with toilet, of those who had applied for toilet, of those with given fund for building it but did not build yet, and the update of numbers of each house
  3. solve to the lack of available water for healthy management of sanitary conditions

The Gram Panchayat did not answer to any of our requests, nor even replied.

b) Then, Khushi Parisara tried to trigger local communal intervention, firstly to solve the massive waste problem in the village, secondly to tackle major sanitary issues – water, drain and lack of toilets.

Starting from identifying the issues to tackle with the community, assessing the social, cultural, economical difficulties at stake, Khushi Parisara worked on building people’s self-confidence and motivation, providing information, sharing knowledge, projecting, supporting, triggering action, etc.

A youth group, The Aryan Boys, with extremely efficient and diligent leaders stirring the varied exploits, started prompt and enthusiastic activity, deciding the line of action in several very participated meetings.

Immediately after, because here women are the most exposed group to the local plaguing sanitary issues, Khushi Parisara encouraged the involvement of girls also, and the Minuguava Nakshatra group joined the endeavour, whose leaders exceled also in their performance.

The work was developed in various steps:

  • First it started with a global clean-up of the village on the segment along the river fixing slightly improvised bins – which proved not be suited to their function as the cows ate all their paper board …
  • Next, in several gatherings it was explained to women the dangerous issues around the “neo-traditional” trash disposal system (burning, dumping, immerging).
  • At the same time, in all the meetings held Aryans BoysMinuguava Nakshatra and women were unanimous on their need for toilets, reporting abundant cases of reiterated dismissed requests from Gram Panchayat due to odd circumstances as land ownership, obsolescence of registers and varied administrative or cognitive misunderstandings.
  • We have made a door-to door approach to try to solve this crucial issue – on the same go we were reinforcing information on proper trash management.
  • And, to reinforce confidence, enthusiasm, learning and planning, we have invited distinct personalities willing to convey proper information, encouragement and support.

Subhash Candra, from the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Kumta Field Station, has kindly come to explain to the Aryan Boys the importance of caring (and how) for their so critically threatened environment and the developmental benefits the whole community would grow from it.

A specialist from the Centre for Sustainable Technologies (ASTRA), professor Monto Mani, came to help all of us in understanding the possible solutions to build toilets where allegedly there was no space to make them. He was discussing and explaining to all the varied possibilities.

Taluka Health Officer, Ajna Naik came for explaining basic sanitary issues, namely how to manage the building of toilets, the disposal of waste, the serious problems related to its burning. The group listened attentively and interested, asking many concerned questions to which Dr. Ajna provided length information and encouragement, easing some apparent difficulties.

To improve the self-esteem of the community

  • we developed more viable bins for collecting general waste at all the village and they were fixed on several clean-up days. Also bins for glass items only.
  • We provided and fixed a road signboard at the entrance of the village
  • We projected a deck for improving the self-image of villagers and promote the village itself with an innovative venture – waiting for approval
  • We initiated a project to tackle the main Fish Market issues

4. MATURING

By the strong bidding and deed of 2 youth groups – the aryan boys and the twinkling stars (minuguva nakshatra)– the hamlet was coming out of a long period of general socio-anthropological impoverishment sustained by the heavy disregard of local bodies.

They become involved in the self management of some difficult issues ranging from sanitation to waste management, aiming at tackling human and natural resources, transportation (of people and of fish/goods), stocking and marketing.

The youth was ready and betting for the local development on various fronts: construction of eco-toilets, piping of drinking water, refitting the fish market and its environment, creation of a dock for unloading fish, of platforms on the bank of the river for the fishnet repair, and of a wooded deck for easing the long path from the village to the fish market.

They wanted Gram Panchayat backing for:

  • Building eco-friendly toilets on the bank of the river, on the beach side, on the drain
  • Efficient action on drinking water and drain issues
  • Road repair
  • Fixing platforms on the bank of the river for fishnet repair

In March 2016 we informed Kalbhag GP that the solid waste management within Alvedande Village was, just for an experimental period, taken care of by the residents, with the support of Khushi Parisara. On their behalf we requested GP to collect long years of uncollected trash at 3 main spots (on the backwaters of the estuary between the bridge and the samudra, same portion but on the road, and on the west side of the village adjacent to Biklo M. Toreskar house), begging

that, once this waste was properly collected, boards warning about the illegality of trashing and burning should be placed by GP and easily noticed there.

5. FALLING

GP did not reply nor took any action.

Prime Minister was called for an intervention. No reply.

The youth found itself doing, week after week, the removal of waste from the bins with the support of KP, and definitely start feeling abused on their good wish for a consistent sanitary change face to the complete irresponsiveness and inaction of GP. When the experimental period was over the waste went accumulating again in the village. The situation went fully deteriorated during monsoon.

Almost one year later, Kushi Parisara brought to the attention of GP that their violation of rules regarding sanitation and waste management were dangerously impacting on health and environment by the severe gathering of uncollected waste on streets, roads, drains, grounds, banks of river, seashore, due to non-existent collection. And we requested to:

  • Instruct Gram Panchayat workers and elected members on Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Plastic Management Rules, 2016, complying to them.
  • Notify Gram Panchayat members to create the penal framework for Plastics and Solid Waste Management violations (viz., littering, dumping, burning)
  • Notify immediately all the population, by all available means, that littering, dumping and burning waste are offences under SWM Rules (2000 & 2016), fixing warning boards at the most critical places.

To enforce the S&PWM rules in the area we demanded the intervention of TP, CEO, DC. They were all impotent.

Gram Panchayat has to lead the way being the first to comply with the rules, showing and teaching people the right thing to do, without exempting itself from doing the right thing, because “everyone is doing the wrong thing”!

KP intensely and consistently prepared the human and resource field for the implementation of good practices on S&PWM in the small area of Alvedande but without the paired action of the Gram Panchayat, Taluka Panchayat, Zilla Panchayat and District Commissioner, all the work done was wasted and the change aborted. Their indifference, lethargy, irresponsiveness and breach of the rules dragged the same all around, and destroyed the enthusiasm, motivation, confidence.

6. ASSESSMENT

Next step has to start by identifying who is responsible (person, department, office, corporation, entity, etc.) for the implementation, violation, mismanagement and non-enforcement of rules, in order to be able to draw prioritized remediation with the liable entity, namely:

  • the violations – and enforcement – of Plastic law in the district, at source
  • massive marine trashing (terrifically boosted by monsoon, washing up all waste dumped in drains, roads, banks)
  • policy for marine trash prevention at UK
  • landfill assignment
  • chronic open toilets
  • absence of GP of waste management plan and its hazardous mismanagement

What remains to be solved?

  • plan for SWM
  • penal framework for Plastics and Solid Waste Management violations
  • Thorough clean-up of the indicated massive dumping places
  • chronic open toilets
  • allotment of legal landfill

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