Jodie came to India as a tourist, traveling around India. But when she got here, the first thing she noticed was the unpleasant landscape, waste bestrewed all over the place. Slowly she started observing that this issue of disposing of waste in the open was not just a matter of a few places. Wherever Jodie traveled in India, she across the same situation.
Now she was at the fork, she could either go back to her home country or the other alternative was that she could think of how to solve this problem. Well, she believed in herself, and without wasting much time she started.
Initially, she began with mass cleanups. Many people came forward and the reason they volunteered was that even too they wanted to start it but had no clue, where to start, whom to approach. Jodie being the catalyst they kicked off their first project, near the mountains in the North. The garbage in this place had never been cleaned in the past twenty years. They did a weekly garbage drive where they used donkeys and mules to take the garbage back down the hill. Added to it, to prevent people from littering they bought dustbins for the local community.
They started collecting waste going door-to-door, they volunteered to clean up the garbage at the Dharamshala cricket stadium. And a year later they even got a contract to do the waste management and housekeeping for the IPL(Indian Premier League).
Jodie gives credit to the local people who themselves volunteered to come ahead and give a hand.
She soon moved to Dehradun. To begin with, she started campaigning against the use of plastic. They transformed dirty bus stops to beautiful places where people started to come and sit. They turned walls filled with unnecessary posters to walls with simple drawings and messages on how to keep the environment clean and to be honest those walls look much much better now.
Not throwing waste, recycling things are all that all of us humans could do and implement in our daily lives. But then we act irresponsibly and end up littering places. Even the tiniest of tiny plastic or paper does cause a major impact on the environment.
Imagine, if you throw a small piece of plastic wrap on the road thinking it’s just a small thing, it would not harm. There would be hundreds of thousands of people who would think alike. So now think, all of us littering the place with our ‘little’ is something very huge for the environment.
And by keeping our surroundings clean, it’s not just the place that we live in i.e., our homes. But what about the community that we live in, that also is a reflection of us. So even the surrounding areas are meant to be kept clean. We could contribute by taking small steps by cleaning our vicinity and make people aware of the situation.
We should be grateful for the beautiful things that nature provides us with. We have no right to exploit it for one’s greed.
The ultimate motive of Waste Warriors is for the generations to come to have a better future. Even the coming generations have the right to live in a clean and safe environment. The only way to change an adult’s mindset is through their children! And so they focus on educating children, making them aware of the threats that nature is going through.
‘We do things that nobody even thinks are possible because we care enough to try!’, says Jodie. When Jodie started her project of the ‘Waste Warriors’, she had no clue where all this would lead to. It’s now been more than 10 years that she has been working in this industry. Now when she looks back to all those years of struggle and pain but also the love and respect that she and her team received, she is overwhelmed with joy.