Vishnuka Sivananadan is a rather determined ToT trainer who strongly believes and follows the prevention of SWM mechanism in her day to day life. Some of the details mentioned by her in the change of habits and acquiring knowledge on this process have been captured as follows. “While schooling, I never threw garbage on the road but had the habit of burning them on returning home. I was only taught that plastic and polythene were hazardous to the environment but not how toxic burning them was. As a nature lover I was keen on keeping the surrounding clean at all times. Although I was aware of the effects caused by polythene to the environment the adverse effects of it never reached my ears. As a result, prior to the training I was involved in burning all the garbage without segregating them.
It was only after the 8-day TOT training that I realized that my attempts towards eradicating P&P from the environment have resulted futile. I had been greatly polluting the environment by burning all the trash without separating. After realizing this mistake I am trying hard to set myself as an example to others as I learnt that most burn plastics waste being unaware of the negative effects caused to the environment. Now the used lunch sheets are rinsed with water first and sent for recycling. I ensure that all my family members do the same. Re-usable P&P products such as polythene bags and other materials are sent to the recycling center without dumping as trash into the garbage bins.
When I meet my relatives on festive occasions and if anyone brings along cooked meals wrapped in polythene lunch sheets I ensure that they are made aware of the adverse health issues that results from their usage. Although some of the families are involved in following alternative processes, the shop keepers in the village are still struggling to adhere by them. On numerous occasions after my exhausting conversations reiterating the urgency, some shopkeepers have changed to distributing food in paper bags.
If a passerby throws garbage on the road in my vicinity I ensure they pick it up and dispose at a nearby bin or else I dispose them while they are around. After the awareness created, the Kovil in my village during the Maharandhi festival held in January 2019, distributed the Prasadham (offering of god) in paper bags. One of my relatives owns a shop and we had a conversation on the use of P&P where I was able to share the knowledge I gained through my training programme with him which has led to a development in him using paper bags instead of Polythene.
I realized it needs courage to stand up for what is right. People may be reluctant initially to make a change in their accustomed lifestyle but once we explain to them our point for the good of all they surely would make an attempt. Some people look at others and learn, they sometimes try to follow what the other preaches. It was through the ToT training that I procured such valuable learning, or I would still be burning garbage in the name of being Eco-friendly. Before the end of this LANTERN project I hope to make a small change in the attitude towards SWM in my village!