Project: पुन्हा //Punhā : The Solid Waste Management and Sustainability Innovation Lab

Pragnya Senapati is a Public Policy Professional who specialises in the fields of Public Health and Sanitation, Solid Waste Management, Sustainable Development, Urban Development, and Education Policy. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law from Government Law College, Mumbai, and a Masters's Degree in Public Policy from St. Xaviers College, Mumbai. Presently, she works as a LAMP Fellow (Legislative Assistant to Members of Parliament) to Smt. Supriya Sule, MP, Lok Sabha. She believes that all policy interventions should be accessible, collaboratively created, and citizen-centric. Her aim is to help make Mumbai the healthiest, happiest, and most inclusive city.


पुन्हा //Punhā is a Solid Waste Management and Sustainability Innovation Lab. Punhā is a Marathi word that means “anew”, “afresh”, or “again”, which is precisely what the organisation aims to do with the solid waste in cities. Punhā aims to harness the immense quantity of solid waste that cities generate daily and turn it into productive assets, rather than letting it sit in massive landfills. Whether it's organic waste, electronic waste, paper waste, cloth waste, or anything in between, Punhā seeks to give our solid waste a fresh start, while simultaneously providing employment opportunities in the process. In addition to this, Punhā aims to research and develop legislation and policy interventions not only for solid waste management but also for the sustainable development of our cities. Punhā will be a collaborative effort and hopes to involve Government bodies, the private sector, academic experts, lawmakers, students, and ordinary citizens who want to help create an impact.

This project was catalysed in an attempt to recognise and ameliorate challenges faced by underrepresented communities, women and marginalised gender groups in cities. While the effects of climate change and solid waste may not be felt by the more privileged in society, they certainly do affect the less privileged daily. This project doesn’t only aim to make Mumbai a more eco-friendly city but also aims to make it a more human-friendly city. It serves the dual purpose of cleaning up the living environment while simultaneously creating livelihood opportunities. The reality is that while the amount of waste Mumbai generates can be lessened, it can't disappear entirely. Hence, by repurposing the waste, we create jobs and provide people with environmental security and economic security. The project also aims to be as participatory as possible, ensuring that every individual voice is heard, and every individual has the power to create the change they want to see alongside a massive community of like-minded individuals.


My motivation and commitment to a more sustainable planet can best be articulated through the words of The Dalai Lama; "It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live.” Working towards a more sustainable future is a collaborative endeavour and can only be achieved through the cooperation of motivated individuals. We each have a duty to safeguard our living environment not simply for ourselves but also for those around us. My motivation, in short, is simply my duty toward this common goal.