IAS Heera Lal’s Vision for a Plastic-Free Future
- Bhakti Kothari
- Published on 8 Nov 2023, 4:38 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
- IAS Officer Heera Lal's commitment to combating plastic pollution through water and land management showcases visionary leadership.
- His initiative, 'Jhola-yukt, plastic-mukt, Banda,' demonstrates a clear vision and determination to create a plastic-free future, safeguarding both the environment and public health.
- His multi-faceted approach, integrating water management, plantation drives, land management, and the promotion of eco-friendly alternatives, has yielded impressive results.
Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing issues of our time, threatening not only human life but also the very fabric of our planet’s ecosystem. IAS officer, Heera Lal, currently posted as the Special Secretary, Irrigation department, in the Government of Uttar Pradesh, has taken up the mantle to combat this crisis in a unique and impactful way. By focusing on water and land management, the officer has spearheaded a campaign to eliminate plastic pollution in his district, making significant strides toward a cleaner, greener future.
Indian Masterminds exclusively spoke with the officer to know more about his work towards climate change.
JHOLA-YUKT, PLASTIC-MUKT BANDA
Plastic, a material that takes thousands of years to decompose, poses a grave threat to both humans and the environment. Animals and birds suffer tragic fates after ingesting plastic, leading to the loss of countless marine lives. Moreover, plastic pollution clogs rivers and streams, causing floods and environmental degradation. It is also linked to severe health issues, including cancer, when it contaminates food and water sources.
As the former DM of Banda, Mr. Lal, recognizing the urgent need for action, initiated a campaign in his district on with a clear objective: to make the region plastic-free. The campaign, titled ‘Jhola-yukt, plastic-mukt, Banda,’ aimed to reduce plastic pollution, create a cleaner environment, prevent pollution-borne diseases, and raise awareness about gradually decreasing plastic usage.
“Plastic is the biggest enemy of the land, water, and life and is the biggest supporter of climate change. In such a case, the project proved to be quite successful and helped us in making Banda, a plastic free district,” stated the officer.
A MULTI-FACETED APPROACH
To achieve these goals, the officer adopted a multi-faceted approach. He organized meetings with officials and businessmen, fostering collaboration and support for the cause. Public awareness programs were conducted to educate the masses about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution.
“We distributed cloth bags, a sustainable alternative to plastic, and encouraged the citizens to use them. Pledges were administered to traders, educational institutions, and the public, urging them to abandon plastic in their daily lives,” he told Indian Masterminds.
He also initiated extensive plantation under his project ‘Oxygen Park’ to not only bring about a cleaner and greener environment but also beautify the district.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
The officer’s effort to club water management, plantation, land management, oxygen parks, and a plastic-free district yielded remarkable results. Merchants started using biodegradable bags for product deliveries, and the public embraced the use of cloth bags.
“All the four campaigns would not have made any difference separately but working towards them together keeping the same goal in mind provided solutions for climatic change mitigation and is what made the project so successful,” shared Mr. Lal.
To further strengthen the campaign, Mr. Lal advocated for the use of earthenware, emphasizing its environmental benefits. He personally promoted the use of kulhads (earthen cups) in meetings and inaugurated an earthenware shop in the city.
Plates and bowls made from leaves gained popularity, with the officer leading by example during meetings, inspiring others to adopt eco-friendly practices.
REPLICATING IN MODEL GAON
The officer replicated and implemented the same project while he was working on his Model Gaon project, an attempt to make rural villages model and smart. His approach to combating plastic pollution through water and land management sets a precedent for environmental initiatives.
His dedication, coupled with the support of the community, has transformed his district into an inspiration of sustainability and eco-consciousness.
By eliminating plastic and promoting eco-friendly alternatives, Lal has not only contributed to mitigating climate change but has also inspired others to follow in his footsteps. As we face the challenges of a changing climate, IAS officer Heera Lal’s story serves as a testimony to the power of grassroots efforts in building a more sustainable future for generations to come.
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