In a bid to find a tangible solution to the environmental pollution created by growing wastes across the city, West Bengal Sustainable Business Council of Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry had organized a web seminar on Solid Waste Management recently.
Shri Debasish Sen, IAS, former additional chief secretary and presently Chairman, HIDCO and NKDA, graced the occasion as the keynote speaker while Saket Mohta, Managing Director, Merlin Group and founder of I Am Kolkata attended the seminar to express his view on waste management policies from corporate perspective. Sourav Mukherjee, President of Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage elaborated on different initiatives of solid waste management from NGO perspective. The seminar witnessed the presence of Nayan Mitra, President, Sustainable business Council and Priyanka Mandal, the moderator of the seminar and an entrepreneur promoting sustainable development.
“Solid waste management is indeed a matter of great concern which requires urgent action. It not only affects life on land but also affects life under water and life on air. Needless to say if affects us on all levels. So, unless we manage them, waste will manage us. However India has a strong culture of waste recycling and upcycling from clothes to newspapers to bottles and packaging. It is heartening to see that a new business ecosystem is evolving around this. Govt has a crucial role to play to create awareness among people and take steps to minimize the waste from our ecosystem”, said Dr. Nayan Mitra, President, West Bengal sustainable business council of WICCI.
Elaborating on the role of Govt. on waste management, Shri Debasish Sen, the keynote speaker said, “Our latest intervention is the concept of “Zero Shop”. We have created a zero shop and given it a brand status. We have created brown paper bag with spiral and we are urging people to donate them on one hand and buy washed old clothes. NKDA started Zero Waste Shop where people can donate their old cloths and NKDA will resale them after washing it, starting at rupees of 20 only. We found out that 400 people purchased these dresses and we are very enthused to see that people care sustainability. We are run out of stock and organizations are donating old clothes. We urge people to donate their old clothes and not to throw away. We also encourage people to buy old washed clothes and promote reuse.”
Mr. Debasish Sen also announced a new initiative under which NKDA will convert a community market into zero plastic for that they have appointed Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage to conduct a survey and introduce different alternatives of plastic carry bags and containers. Recently KSCH finished the survey and submitted the report. As per the report these alternatives are not cheap. NKDA will provide the subsidy to reduce the rate of these alternatives.
Talking on their role in reducing solid waste material, Shri Sourav Mukherjee, President, Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage said, “We started recycling waste on 2015, involving 15 marginalized women. They provided skill development training to them to create products from waste. On 2019, 9th May they got their first exposure at Eco Park gate number 4 to showcase the waste recycled products in collaboration with NKDA. Now they are working with 3,687 vulnerable women on solid waste recycling. They are also the implementation agency of Merlin’s CSR wing I am Kolkata. Here they are collecting solid waste from the community resides at AA Block in Newtown and creating multiple utility products out of it. They are also running the zero waste shop at rotary one in collaboration with NKGCCL and NKDA. Recently NKDA granted them another kiosk near Biswa Bangla gate to promote eco-friendly products.
Talking on the role of creating awareness among people on the importance of minimizing waste material from environment, Shri Debasish Sen signed off by mentioning about a contest among the residents of New town on reducing waste material.
Shri Saket Mohta, MD, Merlin Group said “Waste leads to increase of carbon footprint generation and by recycling papers for one year a business can reduce co2 emissions. We at Merlin have already installed composter machines at more than 8 housing apartments and handed over to our RWA societies after necessary training – these composters are converting kitchen waste material to compost that can be used as manure for plantation or some other ways. We are also arranging training for the members of Resident welfare associations in these housing apartments to use it effectively. As part of our CSR initiative, our CSR arm “I Am Kolkata” had collaborated with Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage and undertook a project on solid waste management and recycling. We are honoured to have received nod from United Nations to use SDG logos as our project addresses four Sustainable Development Goals adopted by United Nations in this project to provide a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.
He added that Merlin would like to launch a drive among employees and donate old clothes to the zero waste shop at New Town while appreciating NKDA’s initiative under the stewardship of Debasish Sen. He also proposed to purchase clothes from zero waste shop and donate old clothes at the same time personally with his family.
About West Bengal Sustainable Businesses Council (WBSBC) of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI) : It takes off its journey recently this year with an aim to bring about fundamental changes in governmental policies, laws and incentives with a view to robustly engage, encourage and empower women in sustainable business, industry and commerce across all sectors and fields.
Under the able President ship of Dr. Nayan Mitra and Vice President Ms. Priya Sengupta, WICCI WBSBC boasts of an extremely capable and passionate Council with multi stakeholder expertise (a must in Sustainable Business) like Dr. Sumona Ghosh. Dr. Tanuja Sharma, Dr. Mita Tarafder, Lata Bhatia, Pauline Laravoire, Jayati Talapatra, Sahana Bhowmick, Lipi Biswas, Sujata Chatterjee, Sarbani Bhattacharya, Nupur Ghosh and Surekha Routray.
WICCI WBSBC has three verticals under its umbrella – ‘Facts, not Fiction’ that deals with research and dissemination; ‘Rise and Shine’ that aims at empowerment and ‘Nudge for Change’ committed to Advocacy. The first vertical is witnessing a resounding success with its webinars on ‘Corporate CSR Fund Utilization post-COVID-19’ and ‘Circular Fashion’ which has had over 1500 audience and awesome peer feedback. One can watch the episodes in WICCI West Bengal Businesses Council youtube channel.
For the second vertical, WICCI WBSBC has under the Presidentship of Dr. Nayan Mitra has collaborated with the prestigious Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia for internships of their students in India, the first one scheduled between October 26 – November 6, 2020. With internationally recognized quality of research and teaching, Deakin ranks 231 in the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) putting Deakin in the top 1% of the world’s universities.