Updated: Sep 26, 2019
The save northeast campaign was first initiated at Guwahati on 18 March 2019 by a group of students from different colleges and universities on the idea to make people of the region aware of the dangers of plastic littering and it’s adverse effects on the health and environment of the Northeast region. In the recent years use of disposable plastic in our region has increased tremendously and it has become extremely necessary to check the excessive use and littering of plastic based products which has been causing extensive damage to the natural environment of the villages, towns and the cities.
Due to the lack of proper management of plastic waste, the rate of pollution in the local water bodies (ponds, lakes and rivers) has immensely increased and has been affecting the biodiversity of aquatic life forms. It has also directly or indirectly resulted in the decline of authenticity of eco-tourism of the NE Region, which is basically known as the hub of eco-tourism around the world.
The campaign began with the idea of cleansing the region off the unattended plastic waste and making people aware about the threat it poses to the environment. The save northeast campaign was first carried out by a small group of students in Guwahati city streets, parks and other public places where they went out and cleaned the areas all by themselves. Public hangout hotspots like the Gandhi Mandap which is popularly known for being constructed in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi are daily visited by thousands of people on daily basis, who knowingly or unknowingly litter a lot of used plastic based products in the surrounding. This has resulted in the excess accumulation of plastic waste which has been affecting the biodiversity of various life forms in the area.
The excess amount of plastic mixed with the soil has been seriously restricting the growth of various plants by reducing the fertility of the soil and also causing a halt in the re-absorption of groundwater, which has now become a national issue. Initially the campaign was carried out in these particular areas and it was difficult to cover more areas because it was quite difficult for a small group of students to spare time from their hectic schedule. So, the campaign could not be carried out during weekdays and the students had to resort to their weekend time to work on the said matter.
During these times, the students faced various problems such as segregation of the collected waste products and in determining the recyclable, non-recyclable and biodegradable waste. On the first day, the students collected about 1-2 tons of plastic and other waste products. Almost 15 trash bags full of glass waste consisting of liquor bottles and medical based products were recovered at the Gandhi Mandap on the very first day itself. The broken glass wares thrown irresponsibly in the surrounding were having hazardous effects on the local animal species, causing injuries and other damages to these animals.
Different social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube helped them to reach out to people from different areas of the NE Region. These platforms helped them to contact with various participants like Akash Harizan (Wilflife of Africa Conservation initative member) Ditee moni Baruah (Assistant Professor of History Arya Vithyapeeth college), Dr. P. Das MBBS (MD)Silchar and the social media platforms helped them to connect with the students of NEIGRIMS (Shillong), Arya Vidyapeeth College (Guwahati), Cotton College (Guwahati), Barak Valley, North Lakhimpur and other stakeholders of the NE Region. They were also working on similar social and environmental issues. This helped them unite because they had similar thoughts of progressing towards greener tomorrow.
These people dreamt and strived to make all villages and cities free from the danger of various types of environmental pollutions caused by the mis-management of waste products and it’s poor infrastructure.
This has fueled the campaign and helped in its expansion around the whole region, while the reach is still in its humble beginning and they are happy with how the things are turning out. Help also arrived from the representatives of Radio Mirchi Shillong while the campaign was being carried out in the vast areas of Golflink, Shillong.
For the plans of the immediate future of the campaign they will be needing all the help they can get from each and every citizen of the region to ensure its success. The aim of this campaign is entirely focused on inspiring the youth to realize about the threats of today’s environmental issues and educate them about the unknown dangers we all might be facing in the near future. It also focuses on urging the public to adopt greener means whenever and wherever possible and minimize the excessive use of plastic products.
It is also necessary to mention that these issues have not yet been addressed by the presiding authorities nor are they making the required efforts. These environmental issues are also being left out from the manifesto of current political parties and also none of such problems are broadcasted in the local news media. Also, due to the lack of adequate knowledge of these problems in the regions, this campaign aims in providing proper awareness to the people who are still unaware of the issue.
It is also necessary to mention the people who initiated and are involved heartily in the running of this campaign. Pritam Das, Pran Bora, Akash Harizan, Raghav Bora, Akshay Upadhyay, Paremba Sagapam, Hritik Bora, Nangphe Chakhap, Abhijit Bora, Rohit Das, Badal Prasad, Bishal Ghosh, Neel Roy, Khanjan Tamuli, Bitupan Bharali, Bhairav Gogoi, Hrishiraj Baruah and many others.
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