Globally, electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream today. Awareness about what elements constitute e-waste and the ill effects of storing these elements at home are not communicated via any credible media.
For World Environment Day (June 5), Vijay Karnataka (VK), the most read publication in Karnataka, created a campaign to spread awareness amongst all its 8.3 million readers across Karnataka. The campaign was also designed to drive people to act upon the collected e-waste in their homes. All 32 VK offices hosted boxes that collected e-waste for the campaign’s duration.
The aim of the campaign was to:
- Spread awareness about e-waste to reach the greatest number of Kannadigas.
- Educate people on what constitutes e-waste, the hazards of hoarding it at home, and its harmful effects on the environment and human health.
- Ensure safe collection of e-waste from remote locations where no authorised e-waste disposal sites were available.
- Ensure scientific collection and disposal of the material was practised.
The campaign was called “I’m Environment” in English and translated as Naanu Parisara Para in Kannada. This was meant to compel readers to consider themselves responsible for protecting the environment and the well-being of society at large.
The campaign was launched by two cinema stars at VK’s head office in Bengaluru and a mega article on what constitutes e-waste, the hazards of hoarding it at home, and its harmful effects on the environment and human health. Posters and danglers were put up in a few public places like libraries.
The student edition of VK, which reaches people ages 12 to 16, urged students to discuss e-waste in their homes and encourage their parents to dispose of e-waste collected at home. Educating youngsters ensured good results in the long run.
VK’s well-heeled readers responded very quickly to the campaign. Kannadigas from all ages came forth. Baby Boomers who owned massive gadgets from the 1970s disposed of their old Murphy radios tucked away in their attics for decades. Gen X discarded video cassettes and Walkman players, while Millennials and Gen Z discarded headphones, mobile phones, and LED panels that were not useful.
VK gave a certificate of appreciation to everyone who walked in and discarded e-waste at VK offices.
A campaign that spread like wildfire caught the attention of everyone, from cinema stars to school kids, and everyone ensured the e-waste was brought to the VK office and discarded. A father of a church in Mangaluru sent us a written letter of appreciation about the campaign, and another Zilla Panchayat CEO ensured that all the villagers collected e-waste in one location and sent it to VK office in Bijapur.
The campaign also drew the attention of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), which acknowledged VK’s campaign and gave away 3,480 kilograms of e-waste to the authorised disposers. It also attracted an industrial user to bring a truckload of fluorescent tube lights to the VK office doorstep, which had to be sent directly to the e-waste processor as it was a bulk disposal.
The campaign was successful through VK’s association with Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and NGOs SAAHAS and EnSYDE. Over the course of the 20-day campaign, thousands of readers and VK team members dumped 3.5 tonnes of e-waste.
This was yet another successful campaign from VK that empowered Kannadigas through community service.