In the biggest stride towards a ‘Swachch Bharat’, a US-based company ‘Sealed Air’ and Mumbai based NGO ‘Doctor For You’ is helping hundreds of poor get access to hand sanitization.
Under this initiative, leftover soap bars from five-star hotels (The Lalit, Shangri La, Sofitel and the Novotel) are being repurposed to be distributed to the many slums of Mankhurd, Govandi, Deonar and Shivaji Nagar where thousands of poor have little access to basic hygiene.
In the last three weeks, fresh 1500 soap bars have been repurposed from the 200 kilograms of leftover soap collected from star hotels.
The initiative is spearheaded by Dr Ravikant Singh, who along with his team is working on a two way approach- creating awareness about hand washing and also luring parents to get their children for immunization and take back the fragrant soap bar as incentive.
So far 600 bars have been distributed to slum children who came to immunization booths.
Interestingly, the re-making the leftover soap into fresh bars of soap costs merely Re 1 but in return it is saving hundreds of life.
“If the concentrated effort continues, we are looking at reducing 40 per cent diarrhea cases and a significant drop in skin related ailments as well,” said Dr Singh.
The repurposing of leftover soaps, reportedly, is done while maintaining adequate hygiene standards.
“The soaps are first scraped to remove all the dirt, hair and other elements and then soaked into high concentration chlorine liquid to kill all the residual bacteria. After it has been thus sanitized, the soap is manually crushed, put in a mould and cold pressed,” explained Dr Naresh Gill, head of Mumbai operations, Doctor For You.
“For the families living in these slums, immunization is not important nor is hand hygiene. By offering these soap bars, it is actually helping both ways,” he added.
As per rough estimates, a 400-room hotel generates 3.5 metric tonnes of solid soap waste per annum. This initiative can provide soaps to 2000 people annually and thus save 1.5 million lives through proper hand hygiene.