Nagaland emerge big winners at Himalayan Cleanup 2018

Nagaland emerge big winners at Himalayan Cleanup 2018

Volunteers from Mopungchuket village, Mokokchung participating at The Himalayan Cleanup exercise on May 26, 2018. The Chizami Cleanup team from Phek and the Mopungchuket Cleanup team from Mokokchung district of Nagaland were declared the first place and second placed winners of The Himalayan Cleanup 2018. (Morung File Photo)

Chizami Cleanup team from Phek and Mopungchuket Cleanup team from Mokokchung respectively declared as first and second placed winners of Himalayan Cleanup 2018

Morung Express News
Mokokchung | May 21

Just days ahead of The Himalayan Cleanup 2019, organizers of the camp today declared the results of the ‘Himalayan Cleanup Prize,’ with cleanup teams from Nagaland emerging as standout winners.

The Chizami Cleanup team from Phek and the Mopungchuket Cleanup team from Mokokchung districts of the state were declared the first place and second placed winners of The Himalayan Cleanup 2018. The third place went to ‘Save 8th Mile Khola Campaign’ of Darjeeling, West Bengal.

Kohima Cleanup Campaign and Clean Mon Campaign were the other two teams from Nagaland that won two of the five consolation prizes. The other three consolation prize winners were Waste Warriors from Corbett, Uttarakhand; Roing Cleanup Campaign from Arunachal Pradesh; and Lake Gurudongmar Cleanup from Sikkim.

The number of volunteers mobilized; outreach and media campaigns; site selection and area covered; and quality of data generated were the criteria on which the teams were judged. The best three teams were awarded prize money of Rs 75,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively, while a consolation prize of Rs 10,000 each was awarded to the next five best teams.

More than 300 teams from across twelve states are reported to have participated in the initiative last year and more are expected to participate this year.

The Himalayan Cleanup 2018 was held under the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ anchored by the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), a platform of 12 mountain states and hill districts in the Indian Himalayan Region advocating sustainable mountain policies. Members of IMI are also active members of Zero Waste Himalaya (ZWH) which is a pan-Himalayan (Bhutan, India, Nepal) collective of zero waste enthusiasts.

The Himalayan Cleanup 2019 is scheduled for May 26 but the day being a Sunday, the Nagaland chapter of the event will be held on Saturday, May 25.

Chizami & Mopungchuket gear up for this year’s cleanup
An excited Kewekhrozo Thopi of team Chizami Cleanup said that they had put in a lot of effort for last year’s cleanup and that it was a good opportunity for them to not only cleanup the area but also to engage with locals at the grassroots level in beating plastic pollution.

“I started mobilizing community based organizations of Chizami. Lots of people came forward to support us, including in cash and kind,” said Kewekhrozo while expressing gratitude to the 114 volunteers who participated. They cleaned up four sites last year, including three streams.

This year, the Chizami Cleanup team is following the same model by mobilizing community based organizations to participate. They have selected Government High School, Chizami as the cleanup site. “It is located in the outskirts of the village. Many people visit the campus and throw waste materials and litter the surroundings,” Kewekhrozo said. The Chizami Cleanup team is expecting more than 100 volunteers to participate this year.

Kewekhrozo said that disposal of waste materials collected during the cleanup is a major problem. “For now, the only option is to burn them,” he said, adding that they are in the process of finding an alternative solution. Last year, they gave away the plastic bottles collected to a vendor for free who took it down to Dimapur for recycling.

Meanwhile, the Mopungchuket cleanup team led by The Greensight Project and the Youth Ministry of the Mopungchuket Baptist Church has selected two sites for the cleanup this year, including Süngkotenem Park and the Oak Tree Avenue between Süngkotenem Park and Mangkolong Tea Garden stretching a distance of 3 kms.

Last year, the Mopungchuket cleanup team cleaned up the entire village, collecting 1248 kgs of waste, which was disposed at the MMC dump site located 25 kms from the village. A remarkable achievement on the day was the collection of cloth and textile waste from at least 210 households weighing in at a staggering 867 kgs, most of which were un-reusable.

According to the post event report submitted by the Mopungchuket cleanup team in 2018, it was the first time ever that a waste and brand audit was done in the village. “Keeping the village clean is one thing; managing the waste collected while keeping the village clean is quite another. While Mopungchuket has consistently set the benchmark in terms of keeping the village clean, The Himalayan Cleanup has brought home the truth that much remains to be done when it comes to plastic pollution control,” the report further added.

It meanwhile said that lack of facilities or technological know-how to recycle plastic waste products; lack of network or connection with recycling companies; the inescapable reality of markets flooded with plastic items; and the conveniences offered by plastic products are the main challenges faced by the village today.

The report further observed that collaboration and coordination with relevant agencies and a push for behavioral change and lifestyle practices at personal and community levels were required to better equip villagers to beat plastic pollution.

Mopungchuket village has recently banned all single-use plastic bags since May 1, 2019 in their continued effort to make the village plastic-free.