India and Norway have over almost 15 years developed a close cooperation on environmental matters. In 2006, the Norwegian-Indian Cooperation Commission was established, in order for the two countries to share experiences on environmental management. In the recently concluded India visit of Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn was focused on the agenda; cooperation to reduce plastic litter worldwide, reduce climate gas emissions and securing global biodiversity. During the Pre-COP, CMS COP13, India and Norway signed an agreement to work together on various aspects including reducing the emissions of HFCs, climate, biodiversity and marine littering and plastic pollution.
In a significant move, on 19th February 2020, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn, Minister for Climate and Environment of Norway visited Navjiwan Vihar with a delegation. Navjiwan Vihas, a South Delhi posh colony, has inspired many leaders with its consistent working and achievements in beating plastic pollution, 100% waste segregation, elimination of single-use plastic. Mr. Rotevatn and his delegation, including Ms. Kaia Bilton, Minister Councilor; Ms. Nina Rør, Deputy Director General; Mr. Stig Ingemar Traavik, Special Envoy for Climate and Forest and many other Norwegian dignitaries were given a warm traditional welcome with Tilak, Aarti and flower shower by the children and residents of Navjiwan Vihar. Children also carried Indian and Norwegian flags to greet the visiting leader.
The visiting Minister, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn and his delegation took a tour of the colony, including dhalao, parks with leaf composters, and “Black Gold”, compost generated in the compost pits. They also witnessed garbage collecting carts and interacted with the residents, garbage collectors, domestic helps and children. He also witnessed our parks herbal patches, kitchen garden and blooming flowers.
Dr. Ruby Makhija, Secretary of Navjiwan RWA briefed the visiting Minister about various social and environmental initiatives taken by the RWA, such as; Shramdaan (neighbourhood cleanliness drive); Sanskaar (Value based group for children); Navjeevan Navodaya (Senior citizen care program); Upcycling of bags; Crockery Bank and Say No to Disposables; Drives against Single use plastic; Free Biodegradable Sanitary Napkins for domestic helps; Biomedical Waste program; Jantantra Mahotsav etc.
Some residents’ houses were also visited for understanding of waste generation, management at source and the process was recorded. The residents were interviewed by the visitors. A Senior Journalist from Norwegian Broadcast Corporation officially covered the entire event.
Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn and his delegation also discussed how Navjiwan Vihar model can be replicated in other colonies in Delhi.
Mr. Madhusudan Hanumappa of ITC WOW ESREE Team Delhi, who has been an integral part of the entire waste management process said that the details are very specific for all to understand the importance of waste management and community engagement. He added, “It is further to emphasize that they are sensitive to the fact that we as a community are contributing to improving the environment, and enabling more livable cities. This is an inspiration and motivation to the team’s working on this. Three cheers to the entire residents and the office bearers of Navjiwan Vihar, the SDMC, the SSIL, the other utilities and the foot soldiers of the ITC Team. I am privileged to be part of this group of like minded, positive and ever striving members with the undying spirit, zeal and passion. Let us not only cheer them for the achievements, but also strength their hands by adopting the similar initiatives across Delhi and this movement should now scale up to the extent where Delhi and it’s RWAs should host the Minister of Environment all visiting countries where we share the same concerns for the environment to visit and see how transformation can and is doable if the community comes together. Together we can and we will.”
Dr. Ruby Makhija, Secretary, Navjiwan RWA said, “It was an honour to have His Excellency, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn – Hon’ble Minister for Climate and Environment, Norway and his delegates in our colony, Navjiwan Vihar. We are delighted for being chosen as a model colony for this project visit. I would like to emphasize that the program was organised by CSE where in the awareness programs and the community engagement was carried on Segregation of Waste at Source is being carried out by ESREE Foundation as part of the ITC CSR initiative under the Well Being out of Waste (WOW) program in Delhi. We are grateful to CSE, E Sree Foundation, ITC WOW. Thanks to Crockery Bank, we did not use even a single disposable in the small tea party saving almost 400 of them. Navjiwan Vihar is achieving greater heights under the dynamic leadership of our President Mr. Vinay Bhasin, and ably supported by the best Executive Committee members.”
Mr. Ramesh Verma, Addl. Commissioner, SDMC; Mr. Sudhir Mehta, SE DEMS; Mr. Prabhakar, , Executive Engineer, DEMS; and their other team members, representatives from Centre for Science and Environment (CSE); members of ITC WOW and E Sree Foundation were also present during the programme.
The visiting Minister appreciated the clean, green and serene neighbourhood of Navjiwan Vihar. “I am very impressed with India’s efforts to beat plastic pollution. Norway thinks that we need a global agreement dedicated to stopping marine plastics litter and micro plastics, and we invite India to participate in the global process to develop a stronger response to this urgent problem”, says Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn.
Mr. Vinay Bhasin, President of Navjiwan RWA said that “We are gratified for the visit of Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn with his delegation. This is a huge recognition to all the good works done by Navjiwan Family. Words of praise and encouragement from the visiting Minister and his delegation has brought in enormous boost to our energy levels and will help us to continue working with greater enthusiasm.”
After an hour of tour and interactions, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn walked down to Metro Station with the delegation and took the metro ride to his next destination.