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Jalandhar’s Meenal Verma inspires everyone to ‘Go Zero Waste’

Go zero waste

Meenal Verma is inspiring all to ‘go zero waste’

What would you do if someone came to your door one morning and asked you to close the tap in your garden because it had been left open for the previous two hours and was wasting water? Will this irritate you, or will you swiftly try to fix your error? 
When Meenal Verma started her door-to-door campaign a few years ago to ask her neighbours to stop wasting water, she did not at first get a positive reaction. People have begun to take the 42-year-old architect and mother of two seriously now that the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, has recognized her as a “water hero.”

Go zero waste

Along with encouraging people to conserve water, Meenal and her neighbourhood have been working nonstop to promote “Going Zero Waste” and a sustainable lifestyle through making deliberate and sane decisions. 
Meenal opened up about it to The CSR Journal, saying, “During the epidemic, I founded a group on Facebook called ‘Go Zero Waste,’ which has over 4.7k members presently from all around the world. We are attempting to educate people on how to go zero waste, which involves avoiding single-use plastics, single-use cutlery, and trash segregation. People were first dubious, but now many of them are following me.

Water Hero, Ministry of Jal Shakti

How did everything start? “I started with water management,” Meenal recalled. The Ministry of Jal Shakti has awarded me the title of water hero. In 2020, I received a “water heroes” award. I began with water saving and added trash management over time. I started by going door to door to spread awareness, but that was ineffective since nobody in this country is truly prepared to listen. I gradually turned to social media and began writing for a neighbourhood community organization. There are currently 103k members in that community, and because to my awareness posts, everyone knows who I am now.

There is no garbage to control.

“One idea I subscribe to is that waste management is unnecessary. This means that you won’t have to manage that garbage if you don’t produce it. I instruct group participants and neighbourhood people who participate in my dry trash collecting programme to clean the dry waste, dry it, and then turn it in. Once a month, we perform this throughout the city, after which we channelize it in other locations. Everything is disposed of appropriately; for instance, electronic garbage is sent to the e-waste sector, plastics are further divided into seven sorts before being disposed of, and paper and cardboard are sent to scrap dealers, according to the woman. 
Since I gradually and steadily gathered a group of individuals with related interests, we now have our own team that works for water and waste management. My journey started in this way in 2016, and as time has passed, I’ve seen how everything is interconnected. She explained that if we had to work on water management, then we also had to work on rubbish management, therefore I had to focus on both.

Dry trash

Meenal described the types of dry garbage she is in charge of managing: “Our dry waste is made up of e-waste, or electronic waste, plastic waste of various grades, MLPs (multi-layered plastics), and pet bottles. Along with cardboard, aluminium foils, and scrap paper are considered dry trash. Although they are unhealthy, I constantly tell people to avoid using aluminium foil.

A system for collecting rainwater in an urban setting

The social worker continued by outlining her activities: “We have built rainwater harvesting tanks in some people’s homes. Additionally, we installed water recycling facilities at a Gurudwara outside of Jalandhar. It is challenging to persuade people, particularly in Punjab, that there may be a major water shortage in the future and that precautions must be taken now to avoid it.


Meenal is not an exception to the rule; social work in general has its share of challenges. Since her neighbourhood and family were the first to object, it is clear that this has not been an easy process. She recalled, “The usual trend is that if you go and advise them things like ‘don’t waste water’ and ‘keep your taps closed’ that they would return home and complain to your family members. My family originally discouraged me because of this. But they now support me no matter what. Additionally, after I earned the “water heroes” award, people have started to take me seriously.

Biodegradable Rakhi

It’s that time of year again when sisters bind rakhi around their brothers’ wrists while wishing them health and longevity. However, Meenal has begun creating biodegradable rakhis using cotton mauli thread in order to promote festive celebrations that are environmentally friendly.

Unselfish work

“My trip has been amazing. I work for no personal gain. I offer advice on living a sustainable lifestyle, but I don’t charge people for it. My only goal is to anticipate the shift. Furthermore, you must set an example for others rather than merely preaching to them, Meenal added with a smile.