Turning garbage into gold: J-K village sarpanch shows the way

Farooq Ahmad Ganaie's novel idea may soon be replicated across villages in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir

Representative Images
Representative Images


One man's trash is another man's treasure -- not just a fanciful idea but a maxim to save the environment for village headman Farooq Ahmad Ganaie who gives out gold coins in exchange for polythene to prevent household plastic waste being dumped into fields and water bodies.

"If we do not pay attention to cleanliness, you won't find any clean source of water of fertile land within the next 10 years," Ganaie, sarpanch of Sadiwara-A village in Hiller area in J-K, told PTI.

"While there is a lot of focus on cleanliness from the government and the administration, the citizens will also have to contribute their bit," he said.

Ganaie, who is also an advocate, started out last year by convincing the villagers to build garbage pits in their houses to ensure that solid waste does not get out.

"However, polythene remained a cause of concern as it does not decompose even in garbage pits. That's when I thought of the idea -- bring polythene, take gold.

"We now give a gold coin to those who bring us 20 quintals of polythene," he said.

"Those who bring less than 20 quintals of polythene will also be suitably rewarded, maybe a silver coin," he added.

The youth of the area have formed a club which helps in implementing innovative ideas for the betterment of society.

"Our area has been completely transformed in the past one year. Earlier, there was polythene strewn on the roads but that's not the case now," said Mohsin Amin, a volunteer of the Youth Club.

Ganaie's novel idea may soon be replicated across villages in Anantnag.

"This model will be incentivised and implemented in all panchayats of the district so that our villages are garbage-free and polythene-free," said Assistant Commissioner Development (ACD), Anantnag, Riyaz Ahmad Shah.

He said though the idea was conceived by the Sadiwara-A panchayat, the district administration has extended all support.

Shah said the administration is working on solid waste management in the district.

"We have started door-to-door waste collection and provided community dustbins and household dustbins. The construction of drains, compost pits and soakage pits is being undertaken. We have constructed over 60,000 compost pits in the district," he said.

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