Finding Beauty In Garbage: Assam IRS Officer’s ‘Mockumentary’ On Garbage Problem In Dibrugarh

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Dibrugarh, a heritage town in the state of Assam is known as the Tea Capital of India. The city is surrounded by many beautiful locations, tea gardens and the mighty Brahmaputra. However, the city ranked at 257 out of 434 cities in the 2017 Swachh Survekshan survey on cleanliness, conducted by the Indian Government. In 2018, the scenario was far worse as it ranked at a dismal 357 out of 425 cities. Sarbananda Sonowal, who became the CM of Assam in May 2016 hails from Dibrugarh. The present Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has his roots in Dibrugarh.

Source: http://swachhsurvekshan2018.org

“Dibrugarh has become a big garbage bin”

Garbage disposal became a big problem in the city due to fragile civic amenities such as lack of proper garbage bins, toilets or coordinated garbage collection from homes. Besides, there was the apathy of the municipality to clean the city regularly of the garbage generated on a daily basis.

Garbage dump in Dibrugarh

When Satyakam Dutta was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax in Dibrugarh, he was surprised to see the menace of garbage pollution in the city. “The entire city of Dibrugarh is in shambles. It has become a big garbage bin, and the municipality has failed. The issue has been taken up by the media and the citizens to pressurise the municipality to clean up the city. But it is of no use. Though the population of the city has increased in the recent years, the infrastructure which was there for the last 10 -15 years has not been upgraded to tackle the waste generation,” Satyakam said to Efforts For Good.

Mockumentary ‘Finding Beauty In Garbage’

To bring more awareness about the garbage disposal issue in Dibrugarh, Satyakam decided to make a mockumentary (satirical documentary) on the garbage disposal issue in the city. He named the mockumentary ‘Finding Beauty in Garbage’. The documentary talks about how the citizens and municipality are nonchalant about the garbage disposal.

Watch the short film here.

Satyakam Dutta

When asked why he chose a satirical style of a documentary to talk about the garbage issue in the city, Satyakam said, “I am inspired by the great Assamese writer Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s literature. He wrote extensively on the Assam’s social issues in satirical ways which made the people here change their habits. Due to his writings, many people stopped using opium. I hope my satirical documentary on the Dibrugarh garbage issue brings some change in the authorities and the citizens.”

‘Finding Beauty in Garbage’ recently won the Best Documentary award in Asia South-East Short Film Festival at Cambodia. It was also selected for screening at Ooty Film Festival, Short and Sweet Film Festival at Utah, USA and Bengals International Film festival.

Also Read A Recycling Crusader At Home, This IAS Officer Is Giving Hyderabad An Eco-Friendly Makeover

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but how much love we put into giving.
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Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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