'Modern rag picker' makes art out of waste
With an aim to make protect the Delhi University's environment and conserve its energy and resources by practicing the three words 'reduce', 'reuse' and 'recycle', an analytical expert at the varsity's Chemistry department has taken this an innovative step.
A known face across of DU and a 'modern rag picker', Seema Upadhyay says: "Initially, I used to make toys and greeting cards from waste material collected from the college campus to make children happy. Gradually, it became my passion. People used to call me kabadi wali (rag picker) and laughed at me, as picking up waste material from streets and grounds was my routine. But I never felt bad about it."
Upadhyay has now approached the Delhi Metro with a detailed plan on how to use waste material for making useful things such as pen holders, greeting cards and decorative items, to name a few.
"I never got support from anybody. So I took the help of students of different departments on the campus. Now, I have my own NGO and we have more than 100 enthusiastic volunteers, who come up with new ideas to take this art ahead," said Upadhyay, who started the initiative on her own in 2010.
Since then, she has also been conducting seminars on conservation and workshops on recycling waste to produce useful articles. She has conducted these seminars in nearly 40 colleges affiliated to Delhi University and aspires to continue the practice.
Waste material, such as papers bits and plastic bottles, are used to demonstrate making of artefacts during the seminars and the product are given back to the college.
"I send requests to the colleges to collect their waste material. Then, we conduct workshops with the help of social service unit of that institute and involve the students largely," Upadhyay says, who spreads her message through social media websites as well.