4 Jun 2021

Street Art Celebrates Corona Warriors

Instead of imaginary faces, Hilldaari, a project supported by Nestlé India in collaboration with Delhi based artist Achintya and the Nainital Municipal council paints the real heroes behind the health and safety of the city. The project highlights the beauty of artistic expression in bringing awareness and change in social behaviour.

Street Art Celebrates Corona Warriors, Project Hilldaari, Art Scene India
Achintya Malviya, artist who made the 6 wall portraits
HILLDAARI is an initiative developing inclusive, contextualised and resilient models for solid and plastic waste management, in various tourist cities of the country. It is currently being implemented in Mussoorie, Nainital, Dalhousie, Ponda, Mahabaleshwar and Munnar by Stree Mukti Sanghatana, along with Recity Network Private Limited as the technical partner. This initiative has facilitated the diversion of 4668 metric tons of waste from landfills and is continuously working towards professionalizing 220 waste collectors and informal waste pickers through a multi-collaborative approach with municipal councils, citizens, contractors, waste workers and influencers.

In Nainital, the team identified 6 waste workers from lake cleaner, waste collector, informal waste picker and waste collection driver to provide them with much-deserved recognition for their contribution during the pandemic. The life-sized portraits, apart from adding beauty to the lake city also act as a reminder to the people in the area to do their bit, to not litter and respect the waste worker force.
Street Art Celebrates Corona Warriors, Project Hilldaari, Art Scene India
Artist Arun Sharma and Achintya Malviya behind their wall artwork on 3R of waste managment 
Artist and muralist, Achintya Malviya elaborates, “Making the portraits of waste workers was in itself a unique idea, to begin with. We generally find portraits of political figures, freedom fighters or someone famous, painted on the walls. But to paint a garbage truck driver, a waste picker, a door-to-door waste collector was an act of acknowledgement from our side”

Meha Lahiri, Co-founder, Recity Network explains, “In one of our initial interactions on the ground, Krishna Ji, a waste worker had beamingly remarked, "Koodey waaley toh aap ho, hum toh Safai waaley hai (You are the producers of waste. We are ambassadors of cleanliness)". 6 wall portraits across Nainital are an effort to acknowledge the same, and celebrate waste workers' contribution to the cities. In the COVID crisis, we are capacity building citizens to segregate their domestic biomedical waste like masks and gloves, and wrap it in paper before disposing of, as this waste can harm the waste workers. We have also ensured that waste workers receive vaccination, and are trained in COVID related SOPs, and are celebrated as COVID heroes. Krishna Ji's confident assertion has stayed with all of us and has given us a direction for the project.”
Street Art Celebrates Corona Warriors, Project Hilldaari, Art Scene India
portrait work under progress
In addition to the art component, which gives a face to waste workers, who have been out on the streets through the pandemic, Hilldaari also initiated a “No Contact IEC” program. The programme has reached out to over 30,000 residents across Mussoorie, Nainital, Dalhousie, Mahabaleshwar and Ponda through various digital mediums like WhatsApp, public announcements, Media coverage, tele-calling and radio shows. As part of this project, Waste Intelligence Technology has also been developed for monitoring end-to-end waste management to minimise human contact.

Bio-medical waste and its disposal has emerged as a significant health hazard during the pandemic. The awareness campaigns focus on ideal waste management behaviours such as- provide dignity to waste workers, no-littering, Source Segregation and Waste as a resource. At the same time, there are efforts to create a sense of belonging among the citizens towards their cities by visible change interventions and various place-making initiatives.

Some of the major initiatives in these areas include - Wall Arts around GVP areas (garbage vulnerable points), Wall portraits of waste workers, Art installations to show waste as a resource, and Installing upcycled infrastructure at public places like dust bins, pavements made up of upcycled plastics and playscape using upcycled materials.

All images provided by Recity Network

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