The role of an IAS officer is almost like a roller coaster journey with a great onus on the individual. An IAS officer’s duty revolves around managing different types of administrative tasks related to a district/area/department. They take a pivotal role in govt. policy formulation & implementation, heading PSUs, etc. These officers are considered as the torch-bearers of government schemes. Apart from the administrative tasks, their duty involves keeping the blocks and districts clean, secure, and developed, fighting against corruption, transforming schools, generating employment, and making healthcare accessible to all.
The Indian government has chalked out several steps to cut down single-use plastics and eventually stop all usage of themto decrease the country’s plastic footprint. Going on par with those initiatives, these five IAS officers have shown exemplary efforts to prohibit single-use plastic products and make their districts plastic-free.
RohiniBhajibhakare, a 2008-batch Tamil Nadu-cadre IAS officer, is the first woman Collector of Salem since 1790.
Known for her swift actions for the betterment of people, she launched an eco-friendly initiative in 2017 to achieve plastic waste-free district status for Salem.
This IAS officer has slapped a ban on using polythene and plastic articles, such as bags and cups on the Collectorate campus. The officials serving in the various government departments functioning in the college and the visitors have been directed to avoid bringing food and other items in plastic bags and boxes to eradicate the use of plastic in the district.
Mir Mohammed Ali, a 2011-batch Kerala-cadre IAS officer, is recognized as one of the most hard-working and honest IAS officers. He was posted as a District collector in Kannur district in 2016 and within five months made the district country’s first plastic-free district. Apart from that, he took initiative to encourage the use of handloom bags woven by co-operative societies. This eco-friendly alternative helped to phase out plastic carry bags and other items. He also took strict actions against companies that don’t stop using plastic products.
In 2020, he was appointed as the officer on special duty to CM PinarayiVijayan. Presently, he is the executive director of Suchitwa Mission and director of the environment department.
MeghNidhiDahal is a 2015 batch IAS officer hailed from Sikkim. While posted as the sub-divisional officer (SDO) in the North Salmara Subdivision of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, he was deeply concerned over the growing dependence of people on plastic. The increasing use of plastic was negatively impacting the environment there and creating problems for plants, wildlife, and the human population.
He started bringing the change right from his office by replacing the plastic cups and glasses with glass tumblers and earthen cups. Sikkim was the first state to ban disposable plastic bags in 1998; under Dahal’s supervision, the state banned the use of plastic water bottles in government offices and events in 2016.
Starting from Republic Day in 2018, he and his staff members minimized the use of plastic and replaced those with steel jars and glass tumblers sourced from local clay artisans in Abhayapuri. His office bought the earthen items in bulk for their official meetings and reused them as and when required. Megh also tried to find an alternative for thermocol bowls and during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections became successful to replace the thermocol bowls with cornstarch containers. They sourced it locally from Barpeta and other parts,
Ashish Thakare, a 2011-batch IAS officer, launched a green initiative in Odisha’s Keonjhar district administration by cutting down plastic waste and retracing the local roots.
The tribal community of the Keonjhar district used plates and cutlery made out of leaves of Sal tree, which grows abundantly in the region. However, as single-use plastics became increasingly popular, the use of Sal plates was diminished.
The District Magistrate has made a rule to discard if not reduce the use of plastic plates and cutlery from the District Collectorate and opted for more sustainable eco-friendly options.
This eco-friendly initiative did not have only environmental benefits, it re-stabilized the business of the tribal workers who used to make those plates out of natural ingredients. After this initiative, local tribal women are being employed to make Sal leaf plates for the KeonjharCollectorate for a regular income.
Hari ChandanaDasari, a 2010-batch IAS officer, is the zonal Commissioner (West Zone) of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Starting from 2016, she launched several recycling initiatives under her jurisdiction that augur well for the city’s ‘green moves’. Under her supervision, Hyderabad is witnessing a remarkable change by installing upcycled furniture made from unused tires and old oil drums at over 120 parks in the city along with housing and sanitation projects where paver tiles and roofing sheets are made of recycled plastic.
Apart from this, Dasari initiated the ‘Give and Share’ center, where numerous kiosks across Hyderabad have erected small 3-walled structures, where people can donate anything and everything for underprivileged people to pick up.