This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jogitha Josey. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This Student Drive In Navi Mumbai Will Inspire You To Start Your Own Swacchta Andolan

More from Jogitha Josey

By Nikhilesh Iyer (Nisarg):

It takes courage to go against the flow, in this case, against the accumulation of tons of waste in and around Turbhe, Navi Mumbai, which is steadily becoming like Deonar, Mumbai’s dumping ground.


The mountain of garbage collected from Navi Mumbai close to Samta Vidyalay, Turbhe


Fire on the garbage mountain

Students of Samta Hindi Vidyalaya, Turbhe, initiated a cleanliness drive on October 2 to make the point that instead of blaming the authorities and municipal corporations, one should first look inwards and set an example to the common citizens of the nearby local communities, who are the biggest contributors to the growing garbage mountains.

pic 3

An overflowing local garbage bin near Samta Vidhyalaya, Turbhe

Around 200 students were trained by a newly formed Navi Mumbai group called Educators for Equality, under the subproject – Asan Vigyan, on how to handle waste in a scientific manner and on how to safely segregate them, separating plastic from compostable organic waste, so that both the streams can be recycled.


pic 4

Plan of action for waste segregation

The lessons were demonstrated by ‘Eco-Friendz’, a group of senior students of the same school who are finding ways to implement sustainable ecology and a pro-social economy. The army of students, mainly from classes 9 and 10, equipped with banners and broomsticks, trash cans and trolleys, started from their school at 9 AM and went from street to street cleaning and segregating whatever waste came in their way.

Energetic slogans were raised and reverberated to promote segregation of waste, cleanliness, and spread awareness about health and hygiene as well. Hand gloves, nose covers, caps, etc. for the cleanliness drive were provided by Prayaas, an NGO working towards a sustainable environment.

By noon, the following wastes were segregated:

About 30 plastic bottles were stuffed with non-biodegradable waste like polythene and food wrappers, weighing about 5 kg. The overall volume reduction achieved was more than 10 times.

pic 5

Hema, a senior of Samta Vidyalaya and among founders of Eco-Friendz, promoting garbage to garden.

pic 6

Cleanliness Drive at Samta Vidyalay

pic 7

pic 8

pic 9

pic 10

pic 11

pic 12

Segregated plastic waste, stuffed up in bottles for recycling

Thermocol waste was dissolved in acetone to dramatically reduce its volume by 50 times, and to reuse the moldable plastic to make small decorative pieces. 

pic 13

pic 14

pic 15

pic 16

Puppet show performance by Shri Shartrotan Verma and Shri Vipin Verma

pic 17

pic 18

To summarize, observing October 2nd at Samta Vidyalaya was an immensely memorable experience for all the volunteers and participants. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan might have ended that day, but for communities that live beside a dumping ground, an annual token service is not enough! As the young volunteers collectively voiced their opinion, they said, We experienced the hardships and perils that safai karmcharis encounter each and every day, and some of us did get fever and illness too! Weakened though we were bodily, our resolution only got strengthened to support the true heroes of Swachchta, the safai karmcharis, who are undertrained, uneducated and underprivileged and often discriminated against on the basis of caste. Cleanliness is a technical, managerial and a social problem which requires a holistic solution. It does not make much sense to simply collect all waste and dump them in a common dustbin once in a year. The fullest utilization is only possible by careful segregation of source in a scientific manner, at the grassroots level and day to day basis, and inculcate the habit of transforming wasteinto valuable materials!


pic 19

Plastic bottles packed with sellotape to make flower stands

The next day, all the waste that had been segregated was turned into value in the following ways:

Plastic bottles filled with covers were assembled and tightly packed with sellotape to make a rocket launcher shaped flowering stand. It can be further painted to make it even more beautiful.

pic 20

Moldable plastic that hardens on exposure to air, can be used to make plastic containers and crafts

pic 21

Eco-Friendz Deependra, Hema and Deepak watering Neem trees planted over organic compost bin 

Stree Mukti Sanghatana were contacted to procure compost bins along with special microbes which aid in fast and odourless composting. The designer and proponent of home composting of Stree Mukti Sanghatna is none other than Padmashri Dr S P Kale, a renowned environmentalist and retired senior scientist formerly of the Nuclear Agriculture and Bio-Technology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

One large 75 litre basket, fondly called ‘Jaduchi Khat Tokli’ or magical compost bin, was enough for transferring all the organic waste collected, along with about 3 kg of microbe culture, gently mixed and stirred. To add icing to the cake, neem saplings were planted on top to consume the newly forming manure and grow, thereby making a garden out of all the organic garbage.

And thus began Swacch Turbhe Andolan, not a one-day event, but a perennial movement for better environment, which aspires to collaborate with all like-minded scientific, pro-social and environmental groups across the nation to level up Swacch Bharat Abhiyan to Swacch Bharat Andolan!

If you want to initiate a local Swacchta Andolan at your place, contact us here:

Asan Vigyan:,

Educators for equality: (Achieving equality through education), 9930186410

Shatrotan Lal Sharma (Puppeteers for social causes): 9839301782

Bio composting bin from Stree Mukti Sanghatana ( Seema Kisane (9987922547)

You must be to comment.

More from Jogitha Josey

Similar Posts

By shomya singh

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By Ramesh Tiwari

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below