Village of 1,300 families in Bantwal taluk of Mangalore, India has been inspired by a revolutionary self-help movement called Apna Desh to take on leadership role and to keep it free of plastic waste.
In Ira village of Bantwal taluk, polythene is a strict no-no. “If a person does not accept anything in a poly pack, the shopkeepers, in other villagers too, will know that the person is from Ira,” says gram panchayat secretary Chandrashekhar.
Ira’s panchayat volunteers were educated about the negative effects of plastic. They have build a “plastic hill” from the village waste, which will later be taken to a Bangalore recycling company that uses it to build roads.
Recently, a team of 20 representatives from UNICEF, representing countries like Indonesia, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe, visited the village and studied various aspects of the place comprising its sanitation, developmental projects, cleanliness, and the like.
Ira’s success story began with the successful implementation of Centre’s Sampoorna Swachata Andolana or the total sanitation project which aims to generate awareness on clean environment and inculcate good toilet habits among the rural masses.
Ira Grama Panchayat also enjoys the distinction of being the first Grama Panchayat to go digital. On the bulletin board of the panchayat office are displayed various newspaper articles relating the development of the village.
Ira is not just any other village. It is totally clean, literate and plastic-free. In fact, Ira gram panchayat is a role model for many other countries too.
Sources- India Today, deccanherald and other digital sources