- Gandhi Chhadi is developed by an IITian to ease garbage collection
- Priced at Rs 250, the device is recognized by Ministry of Urban Development
- It can pick up paper, cardboard, plastic sheets, rubber, cloth and plastic
Ragpickers are key for waste management in India – a country of 1.2 billion which generates around 62 million tonnes of solid waste annually. To earn their livelihood, they work under extensive health risks to collect, sort and segregate waste and then trade it.
In doing so, they clean a significant proportion of the waste, but also get exposed to infections as they come in contact with hazardous and bacterially infected waste, in absence of proper gear or equipment. Notably, they do this gruelling work without any job security, salary or dignity.
Keeping all this in mind, an IITian, Dr. Ajay Chandak has developed an effective waste collection tool, which would enable them to collect more waste that is strewn around with ease, and minimal amount of effort. Named as ‘Gandhi Chhadi’, this innovative pricker, recognized by Ministry of Urban Development, provides a dignified and easy way of collecting plastic, paper and similar waste at amazing speed without touching the waste and in standing posture, without any need to constantly bend.
— Swachh Bharat Urban (@SwachhBharatGov) May 31, 2017
Speaking about the pricker, Dr Chandak said that in his study he noted that ragpickers pick up only heavy gauge (more than 50 micron) plastic and other waste. Picking up low gauge plastics, pouches, etc. is very laborious and does not even ensure a day’s wage. Because of this, most of the plastic pouches, carry bags and papers never make it to recycling stage.
It is difficult to collect waste from tricky areas like beaches, thorny and scrubby areas, gutters, river banks etc. Gandhi Chhadi was developed to solve such issues, Dr Chandak further added.
It uses a wood-screw mechanism at its end that pierces through the waste. Most suitable for cleaning in beaches, forests, trekking tracks, road-sides, gardens, municipalities, and other areas, Gandhi Chhadi, priced at just Rs. 250, can pick up paper, cardboard, plastic sheets, rubber, cloth and plastic bottles.
One can pick up 20-25 pieces of waste before needing to unload the collected waste in a bin or bag. This light-weight device, which comes with a telescopic handle to adjust as per the person’s height, is affordable, hygienic and hugely reduces manual effort.
A lot of municipal corporations across India, including Amravati (Maharashtra), Moodubidire (Karnataka), Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) and Nashik (Maharahstra), are currently using it. Interestingly, Ujjain and Nashik are also using it specifically for events like Kumbh Mela, said Dr Chandak.
Also, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) Dibrugarh, Ratnagiri, and Dakshin Kannada are using this device for waste management and teaching their students the importance of cleanliness. JNV also issued a circular for adopting Gandhi Chhadi as the device of choice to teach students about waste management and to keep their own campus clean.
The idea for Gandhi Chhadi was conceived by Dr. Chandak on Gandhi Jayanti, and hence the name. The biggest benefit of this device is that it brings dignity to the waste collectors. In fact, the device can be used by any one, from a ragpicker to any person not specialized in garbage collection, and is an ideal tool for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.