Two Sanitation Champions from ‎Sikkim‬ honoured by the Indian Government at New Delhi

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in October 2014 launched the Swachh Bharat Mission with the aim to make India clean and open defecation-free in the next five years. Citizens across the country have taken up the task of implementing the governments vision. The central government on Thursday felicitated citizens who are driving positive behaviour change in their communities to help eliminate open defecation and adopt safe sanitation practices.

Rajesh Thapa and Roshni Limboo – Sikkim

Recognizing the waste problem in Sikkim, Rajesh Thapa, principal at Linghom Secondary School in Sikkim, encouraged his school students to find innovative ways to turn refuse into useful things.
He said, “One movement has started in the whole country spearheaded by the Prime Minister and we have an environmental friendly chief minister in Sikkim as well. The district officers all of them are proactive. There needs to some leadership activities at all levels and so we started this at the school level. When you get recognition there is more motivation.”

The school has approximately 400 students. Realizing the problem of waste management early, Thapa began such initiatives with his students in 2010.

“The students have taken back home as well. All the reuse strategies they have learnt, they have taken back home as well. We are mainly now focussing on the refuse part. We have not made any rules as such but are motivating our students not to use plastic products,” Thapa said.

His motivation comes from the fact that while problems of the environment are global, solutions are entirely local.

“We started with re-cycling oil canisters. In one single day, in a small village we managed to collect 2000 oil canisters and most of them have been converted into flower pots. It has been five years and they are still in use. Have seen a change around me … People are more conscious. If we try to collect oil canisters to make flower pots, we won’t be able to get because everyone is making flower pots and that is good feeling,” he said.

His students agree.

“We enjoy taking up waste management. It is very important for us because the world has a huge burden of plastic waste. I would want to take this further. This is my last year in this school and I will take this message to wherever I go next,” said Roshni Limboo, a class 10 student who has been working with Thapa on waste management since 2010.

[Via: Mint, in Pic: Rajesh Thapa and Roshini Limboo of Linghom Secondary School, Geyzing, Sikkim. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint]

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