Shoe bank, garbage cafe: SDMC takes innovative steps to boost Swachh ranking

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) Aiming to boost its ranking in the Swachh survey, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation has taken a number of innovative initiatives, including opening toy and shoe banks and starting a scheme through which a person can get a free meal at a restaurant in return for one kg plastic waste.

These initiatives also seek to help the needy, especially the children who otherwise cannot afford to buy new toys and shoes, or get a proper meal.

A number of important and innovative initiatives have been taken by the SDMC to help the needy and boost its ranking in the Swachh Bharat annual survey this year.

In the government's cleanliness survey in 2020, the SDMC had ranked 31 among 47 cities in the category of cities with a population of over 10 lakh.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation had finished at 43rd and 46th position, respectively.

The initiative of 'Garbage Cafe' was launched on January 23 in a ward in Najafgarh Zone.

Under this innovative concept, in exchange for plastic waste, free meals will be provided to citizens at a restaurant which has partnered with the SDMC.

The civic body, in successive days, opened 23 more 'Garbage Cafes' and counting, as part of its new green initiative The restaurant will offer free breakfast, lunch or dinner for bringing one kg of plastic waste. The plastic waste will include empty water bottles, cold drink bottles, plastic canes and other such items, it said.

South Delhi Mayor Anamika said in view of 'Swachh Survekshan', the SDMC has adopted a slew of measures and the idea of 'Garbage Cafe' is a unique initiative in that direction.

Intensifying the unique initiative 'Plastic Lao Khana Khao', the SDMC has planned to open more 'Garbage Cafes'.

Prior to that in December, the SDMC had opened a first-of-its-kind toy bank in Najafgarh Zone for distributing them to needy children.

Keeping in view the Swachh Survekshan-2021, the 'khilona bank' had been opened where people can donate old toys, instead of throwing them away, Mayor Anamika had said.

Those children who cannot afford to buy toys can come to this place and play and even take these toys along, she said.

The first such bank is housed in SDMC Community Centre in Najafgarh Zone's Dwarka Sector 23.

'This is an initiative which brings smiles on the faces of innocent children. At the same time it reduces the generation of waste in the form of old and unused toys which otherwise get discarded as garbage and waste. It is a unique way to promote reuse of goods and articles and reduce wastage of toys, mostly made up of plastic and fur,' an SDMC official said.

Continuing with its innovative trend to boost Swachh ranking, the SDMC recently also opened a ''shoe bank'', and claimed it was the 'first' such initiative in Delhi.

The shoe bank was inaugurated in the SDMC West Zone's Subhash Nagar area, the civic body said.

'The shoe bank along with a toy bank and 'Plastic Lao-Khana Le Jao'' initiatives has been opened at a site that was earlier a ''dhalao' (garbage dump),' the SDMC had said.

The SDMC has urged residents to donate old or new toys, shoes for children and the elderly, school bags for the needy.

'Generally, residents throw old toys, school bags and shoes in the garbage, so instead we are asking them to donate to the bank, which will then be used to give it to the needy,' an SDMC official said.

The main objectives behind this initiative is multi-fold, whereas on one hand, citizens can contribute old, discarded toys or shoes for a worthy cause as they can be reused by needy people, but idea also is to encourage ''Swachh'' practices by reducing and reusing. This initiative will help the needy schoolchildren and other persons who remain barefoot during summers and winters, the SDMC official said. PTI KND CK