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Harvard Students Visit Residential Colonies In Gurugram To Look At Sustainable Waste Management Models

Gurugram, despite its plush offices and buildings, failed to rank among the top 100 clean cities in India

Students from Harvard visited some of Gurugram's societies
  • The students from Harvard were shown the waste management models
  • The housing societies segregate waste regularly
  • Gurugram ranked 112 in the recently concluded Swachh Survekshan

Gurugram is perhaps not the ideal model for a city as far as waste management is concerned as the city ranked a moderately low at 112 out of 434 in the recently concluded Swachh Survekshan that ranked cities based on their performance in terms of cleanliness. That did not deter Harvard Business School students Jeremy and Greta from visiting some residential properties in Gurugram to get a hands-on experience of the waste management models practiced in several Housing societies. A compulsory first year course at the Harvard Business School titled ‘FIELD Global Immersion’ was what brought the students to Gurugram to understand the waste processing techniques employed by certain residential societies. Some these residential complexes have adopted a multi-functional waste management model and hence, attracted the attention of the Harvard students.

Vatika Group which owns these residential complexes is one of the 157 FIELD Global Partners spread across 14 countries, which have tied up with Harvard Business School to host students during their first year of study and allow them get first-hand experience of any functioning management model.

The students were enthusiastic about checking out the waste management models implemented in the residential societies. They were interested in how so many residents within the apartment complex followed a stringent waste management model, said Juan Alcacer, Professor and Faculty Head at FIELD, Harvard Business School.

Also Read: A 12-Year Old’s Dream – Make Toilets For Rural Girls And Create A Plastic Free India

These housing societies in Gurugram segregate waste on a daily basis. Food, kitchen and biodegradable wastes are separated from plastic and other non-biodegradable waste materials. The biodegradable waste material is stored in composting pits in the residential societies and over a period of time is turned into fine compost, usable as manure for agricultural purposes. The non-biodegradable waste is collected every day and handed over to the garbage collection trucks.

These complexes have also employed a highly effective wastewater management system. These have inbuilt wastewater treatment systems which recycle wastewater for usage in tanks, sprinklers and sanitation purposes. There are wastewater recycling mechanisms which have the capacity to recycle 20,000 litres of water daily, thus ensuring that the wastewater is neither wasted, nor is it discharged into some water body without treatment.

It is amazing how such huge residential properties manage to maintain segregation of waste on a daily basis. Such a waste management model can only successfully run when there’s cooperation from all sections of the residential society, said Jeremy, one of the visiting students from Harvard Business School.

The students also gave some suggestions with regard to ensuring sustainability of the waste management models. Instead of segregation of garbage by garbage collectors, if the residents could implement segregation of bio and non-biodegradable waste themselves, it would make the work of the garbage collectors easier. The students also suggested an advanced model of wastewater management where some of the wastewater is turned into drinking water, with the help of reverse osmosis.

Gurugram’s below average ranking in the Swachh Survekshan 2017 was primarily due to low presence of community toilets and an inefficient system of door-to-door collection of garbage. Being a city where construction is rampant, Gurugram’s absence of an effective construction and demolition waste management system has been one of the key reasons why the city failed to feature in the top 50 clean cities. The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) can take a cue from the effective waste management models implemented by these housing societies and work towards securing a better ranking for the city next year.

Also Read: The Multi-Functional Waste Management Centre At Koregaon Park in Pune Recycles 16 Tonnes Of Waste Daily

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