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As a pre-event build up to the Sustainable Leadership Summit to be held in Mumbai next month, Goa Institute of Management (GIM) organized a conference on Solid Waste Management and Sustainable Solutions at its campus in Sanquelim recently. The impressive line-up of speakers at the conference included Mr. Michael Lobo, MLA, Calangute constituency; Mr. Sanjit Rodrigues, Managing Director, Goa State Infrastructure Development Board; Mr. Clinton Vaz, a prominent environmentalist; Ms. Patricia Pinto, co-opted councillor; Ms. Shabana Kazi from TERI; Mr. Palash Saha from the Geocycle department of ACC Limited; Mr. Sameer Newani, Director of Re-sum Competency Management Private Limited; and Mr. Noronha, Chairman of the Goa State Pollution Control Board.

The Sustainable Leadership Summit which will be held from 7th to 10th  March 2014 is a one of its kind event being organised in India. Stakeholders and partners of the Sustainable Leadership Summit include World Business Council for Sustainable Development, India; The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute(USA), UNESCOClub, Sorbonne University(France), Strategic Outlook(Turkey) and Young European Leadership(Brussels)among others.

The conference at GIM aimed to throw light on issues faced in the field of solid waste management and to highlight sustainable practices being followed in various fields. The event was focused on the use of modern technology, new and innovative methods of waste handling and the safe disposal of waste. GIM hosted six other colleges who participated in the Conference which included, Nirmala Institute of Education, Govt college of Arts and Science, Govt Polytechnic, V.M. Salgaoncar College of Law, Dhempe College and Goa University.

With the focus being on how Goa addresses the issue of solid waste management, the Chief Guest Mr. Michael Lobo was a fitting candidate to open the conference with his efforts to bring the issue to the fore. He made the point that maximum garbage comes from the coastal belt in Goa and took the example of Calangute as one of the only two constituencies that collects garbage in a segregated, organised, and effective manner.

The keynote speaker Mr. Sanjit Rodrigues who is also Commissioner of CCP, took the podium next and spoke about the ongoing war against garbage that his programme ‘Together for Panjim’ is waging. He noted that he had stopped attending seminars and conferences as places of mere rhetoric, but saw some hope in GIM’s conference as it afforded him the opportunity to meet students from some of the best educational institutes together along with important stakeholders from different organizations.

The students of GIM who have been working with the Pollution Control Board on Solid Waste Management, shared their findings and shared their experiences of working on the unique project. Their work is a part of the GIM’s pioneering ‘Give Goa’ program that makes community service an integral part of its curriculum.

The highlight of the conference saw a panel of experts from among the guests in animated discussion over the future of waste management in Goa and their own efforts to maintain focus on the issue. The concept of ‘Zero Waste’ and the necessity of raising awareness to promote all 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) were debated after which the panelists answered questions put up by the audience.

The conference closed with an aggressive call to action and many plaudits to the Samarthan team of the Goa Institute of Management for organizing a successful pre-event for the Sustainable Leaders Summit.