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Using Plastic Bottles To Build Community Toilet In Assam

With this unique initiative taken by 2014 batch IAS officer Lakshmi Priya M S, Bongaigaon in Assam is moving towards a ‘Plastic-Free’ district by adapting innovative techniques of reusing plastic waste.
Indian Masterminds Stories

At a time when environmental issues are becoming a matter of concern throughout the world, innovative initiatives are being taken in the state of Assam to spread a strong message of going ‘Plastic Free’. The officer behind this novel idea of making a community toilet out of 8,000 discarded plastic bottles is currently posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Bongaigaon district in lower Assam.

Deputy Commissioner Ms. Lakshmi Priya M S inaugurated the community toilet on 15 February 2021 in the presence of the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Executive Engineer, other staff, and officials concerned. As messages were spread for the residents of the district, many people also attended the inauguration.

In an exclusive interview with Indian Masterminds, Ms. Priya discussed about the different ways in which the administration is trying to remove the plastic footprint and moving towards a plastic-free district.

USING PLASTIC TO MAKE COMMUNITY TOILETS

She said, “The district administration has been taking various measures in reducing the plastic waste in the district. Earlier, the plastic bottles which we used to collect from the waste generated by the people, were being sent for recycling. But now instead of sending these for recycling, we are using it to make roads. As plastic cannot be easily used, we have also tried to turn it into bricks but that is under the testing process for certification.”

“During this time, we thought of doing something which would help in spreading a bigger message of reusing the plastic waste. So, we planned to build a community toilet out of plastic bottles without using bricks. We decided to build it on the biggest ground in the district, which is situated in the middle of the town and is right next to my office. The Republic Day parade is also held at this ground,” she added.

Community toilet made out of 8000 discarded plastic bottles

The bottles were filled with cement, sand, mortar, putty, gypsum and were placed, as a substitute of bricks, with the right force to get the desired strength. In the process, the administration also gave a platform to a local artisan who is the person behind constructing this community toilet. The boy, Nayan Nath, is from village Dholagaon in the region.

SITTING ROOMS AND GARDEN

The district has already made more than 200 community toilets at various gram panchayat levels. but as this ground is mostly crowded with on-going rallies, programs, functions and protests, the toilet was made to reach maximum people in the district. “We have planned to make such toilets in every big ground in the district,” said Ms. Priya.

Ms. Lakshmi Priya with PHED Executive Engineer and other staff memebers

“Apart from this we have also started with a room for breastfeeding women in our office and at some other places too. I am a mother myself and I found it very difficult to breastfeed my younger one, so we started with a room in various offices in the district where women can comfortably sit and feed their younger one. These rooms named `Pokhila’ (Butterfly) are now being extended to other parts of the district and will be constructed alongwith the community toilets made out of plastic bottles,” she added.

The PHE department is also planning to construct a garden alongside these toilets- again with the help of plastic bottles. This will indeed help in spreading awareness among a large number of people as the initiative is being taken at the most crowded places in the district.


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