On the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, TERRE Policy Centre under its Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN), released the first ever ‘Guideline for single-use plastic free campus’ in Fergusson college, Pune.
“Action starts now. No more speeches and lectures. That’s what Bapu-ji (Mahatma Gandhi) conveyed during his address at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1916. Though it was in context of the India’s freedom struggle, it is so valid in today’s world infested with plastics,” said Rajendra Shende, chairman of TERRE Policy Centre, during the action against plastic campaign that took place in the campus of Fergusson college in Pune, Maharashtra, on October 2, 2019.
India’s Prime Minister Modi has urged the nation to ‘kick the habit and start the new era free from single-use plastics’. Students and faculty of the Deccan Education Society’s (DES) Fergusson college, one of the 19 heritage colleges declared by Government of India, grasped the message and kicked off the movement.
TERRE Policy Centre under its Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN), on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi released the first ever ‘Guideline for single-use plastic free campus’ in Fergusson college at the hands of Sharad Kunte, chairman, GB DES.
“The campaign to reduce the single-use plastics was taken by DES 3-years back. 50,000 students of our society have distributed pamphlets about requesting the elimination of plastics from daily use in public. Our NSS department has conducted street plays, flash mobs and many such programmes are being organised throughout the year. This year to honour Rashtrapita (Father of the Nation) Mahatma Gandhi, we have picked up the campaign again as a part of SCCN. When students are devoted to any activity, we are sure about achieving the success,” he said.
The guideline will catalyze the actions in the campus to become plastic free, Kunte stated. The action started immediately through plastic collection drive in the heritage campus. Aligning with the guidelines of UGC and appeal to the educational campuses by MHRD, SCCN will facilitate the campaigns to contribute in the objectives of national guidelines. These activities will also leverage the contribution of educational campuses to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Starting from Fergusson College, soon the remaining 40+ campuses of DES will also join SCCN as registered members.
“I pledge to avoid single-use plastic, to reuse or recycle the plastic that I use, to educate others about plastic waste and to take action to make plastic pollution a thing to the past,” sworn the students, faculty and staff of the campus.
“Fergusson has always been the first institute to take up any problem in the forefront of the Nation. This plastic problem is not only in front of India but for the whole world. The students of the college will act as messenger to the entire society through various drives, out of which one was conducted today for awareness on reducing the usage of single-use plastic from the campus,” emphasised Tanuuja Marathe, officiating principal and head of geology department, Fergusson college.
“The department of environment, including the students and faculty constantly look out for opportunities to contribute in the well-being and needs of the society arising due to environmental crisis. The UG, PG and Research centre are actively involved in various environmental and social initiatives throughout the year. Being a registered member of SCCN, our campus have initiated single-use plastic free campus campaign today and are encouraged to use our the strength of its students to contribute in Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs),” said Rupali Gaikwad, head of environment department, Fergusson college.