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Nestlé India celebrates 3 years of the Hilldaari in Dalhousie: A circular ecosystem built with collective action 

One of the leading solid waste management initiatives, Hilldaari supported by Nestlé India has been a catalyst for change, transforming people’s behavior, streamlining the waste supply chains for select tourist cities of India. Celebrating the transformation, it has brought to Dalhousie and commemorating its 3 years journey in the city, an event was organized that witnessed the participation from all stakeholders, showcasing glimpse of the interventions of previous years.

Driven by the vision of developing inclusive, resilient and sustainable models of waste management in hilly tourist cities, Project Hilldaari was running in Dalhousie, with the support of Stree Mukti Sangathana as implementation partner, Recity Network as technical partner and Dalhousie Municipal Council as a local partner, for the last three years. The interventions resulted in 243 MT diversion of waste from landfill, 70% source segregation and 100% professionalization of the waste workforce.

The journey of Dalhousie has been unique wherein the city used to dump its waste in the landfill at Kathlak. But today, with the collective action of the administration at the district and city level, residents, contractor, local NGOs and the community, Dalhousie is capable to manage its own waste. The residents and bulk waste generators were trained to segregate their waste, waste professionals were trained to use the safety equipment and on improve their health & nutrition practices. Public spaces have been beautified with wall paintings, an upcycled playscape built for the community, spreading the awareness around cleanliness and waste segregation and influencing people not to litter. Also, a digital monitoring system has been set up to ensure traceability of waste from source to end. 

Affirming the commitment to the sustainability of the impact achieved, Mr. Jagan Thakur, Sub Divisional Officer (Civil), Dalhousie, said, “We are extremely grateful for Nestlé India for this amazing initiative that brought all sections of society together and collectively created solutions for effective waste management in Dalhousie. Hilldaari has been a constant support to us in the last three years. We will ensure the momentum remains sustained through Swachhata Committee which is a promise of sustained impact created by Hilldaari in the city.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sanjay Khajuria, Director – Corporate Affairs, Nestlé India said, “Hilldaari aims at creating unique models for solid waste management in different tourist hill towns, the contribution of each and every stakeholder is key in ensuring a cleaner & sustainable solid waste management system. It is heartening to see the transformation of Dalhousie where today the city is segregating its waste at source and ensuring recovery & processing of the different material types within the city premises. The collaborative approach and the ownership showcased in the city to continue the established system is truly appreciable and will ensure the momentum continues even after we exit.”

Ms. Jyoti Mhapsekar, President, Stree Mukti Sanghatana added to it, “Considering the difficult terrain and unpredictable weather conditions in Dalhousie, it is inspiring to see the dedication with which the waste professionals work and the story of change in Dalhousie. The professionals have been trained to utilize the digital monitoring application and given access to a safe and clean working environment. It gives us immense pride to enable the professionalization of our 19 waste professionals.”

“We are grateful for the journey of the last 3 years in Dalhousie and are happy to see the circular ecosystem established in the town wherein the wet waste is composted, dry recyclable material sent for processing and the low value material baled and sent to cement kiln or Public Works Department. The Dalhousie model is a collective, inclusive and scalable model for small hilly hamlets like Dalhousie” said Ms. Meha Lahiri, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Recity Network.

During the pandemic, Hilldaari organized virtual training for waste workers to help them adapt to the changes in the new normal, equipping them with safer working conditions. They were provided with PPE kits and safety kits and trained how to use it. Trainings were also provided on how to collect waste with minimum contact, ensure proper sanitation and safety. Waste workers were provided with ration kits to ensure their basic necessities are taken care of during such a tough period.

 

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