It all started with the inter-society festival being held every year in Mumbai, called Utopia. Utopia is a day-long festival divided into five categories: Performing Arts, Literary, Fine Arts, Juniors and Open Events, for kids of all age groups from Nursery to Class 12, along with parents participation in some events.
During the November 2015 edition of Utopia, one of the events called Change Maker, required participants from 8th to 12th standard accompanied by an adult mentor. The objective was to showcase innovative ideas for a sustainable future.
The kids of Mahindra Eminente put up a fantastic presentation where they spoke about how improper garbage management was polluting not just our city but the entire planet. There was an urgent need to introduce concepts like segregation at source and composting at a community level to solve the problem. This presentation not only won them the Gold Medal but also gave them the motivation to implement such projects at their own society.
That led to the formation of the Green Army which pledged to take matters in their own hands if elders were dragging their feet about environmental matters.
They expressed this idea through a motivational video completely shot and scripted internally by kids.
The kids started focusing on key environmental matters like avoiding plastic and conserving water. Mahindra Eminente wanted to conduct a marathon where it wanted to ensure that no plastic disposable bottles were used at water stations, thus making it a Green Event. The kids promptly went to all apartments and got a pledge signed by the runners that they would carry their own water bottles or use the water from bulk dispensers kept at water stations.
The society then decided to take up the big project of waste management. While this was spearheaded by adult volunteers, the kids played a vital role in the groundwork including doing a survey on what kind of dustbins people used at home, where they kept them etc. After several months of preparation, house level segregation was started in the society. The Green Army helped ensure maximum compliance of segregation by being vigilant at their own homes by guiding members at home in case they went wrong. This project was featured in Hindustan Times too.
This meticulous planning made Mahindra Eminente the proud winners of the Gold Medal in the ICICI Bank Swachh Society award competition. The kids also inspired Tapu Sena in the popular TV show Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah to introduce segregation and composting in their own society “Gokuldham”. In fact a couple of episodes of this show were shot in Mahindra Eminente. These episodes on waste management were not just seen by lakhs of people on TV but more than 20 lakh people online!
Mahindra Eminente has now saved over 65 tons from going into landfills in the last 1 year itself. And it is now generating over 1 ton of compost every month. The next project that the society has undertaken is to grow its own organic farm with the help of the compost it generates.
The outstanding work of the Green Army was also recognized by &TV where they were looking for children who have been Agents of Change.
The journey for the Green Army has just begun. This is the true manifestation of how a circular economy should ideally operate.. Farm to plate and back to the farm. May the Green Army flourish and expand.