New Delhi: Apart from being one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Mahabalipuram town of 5,000 households and 20,000 people, also attracts roughly 3 million tourists every year and has now gained another title in its kitty – and that’s the label of ‘Waste-Free’ town of India. The town has set an example for the rest of the country to follow and is showing how waste management if done right can lead to the path of success. With waste segregation at source as their mantra, the town is treating almost 85% of the waste that is generated within the town effectively and has become completely litter-free. This commendable achievement is credited to an NGO Hand in Hand India, a Tamil Nadu-based organisation committed to the development of rural areas through a variety of projects along with local authorities and the people.
Speaking to NDTV V Parisutham, Deputy General Manager of Hand In Hand about the waste management plan being followed in the town here’s what Mahabalipuram is doing right:
Waste Segregation – The Key To Success
We started the waste management project in this town of Tamil Nadu back in 2008, everything was done from scratch, at that time we had just one ward with us and today we are dealing with all 15 wards of Mahabalipuram. Since then, we are following the same formula – waste segregation at source is the key to succeed any waste management plan.
2 Bins and One Bag Model Being Followed
Mahabalipuram has been divided into 5 units and each unit gets 4 sanitary workers who help in door-to-door waste collection and one lady motivator who guides people on the importance of waste segregation and how to segregate the waste, so that the chain of segregation never breaks down.
Each household has 2 bins and one bag – Green coloured bin for biodegradable waste, the black bin for non-bio-degradable waste like sanitary napkins, diapers, to name a few and a white bag for recyclable waste. Waste generators are expected to segregate their own waste and the collection of waste for both bins is done daily whereas for the white bag the collection is weekly.
On ever day basis, the town generates around 6,000 tonnes of waste, out of which almost 85% is effectively used.
When asked, will Mahabalipuram follow Swachh Bharat’s two-bin model, V Parisutham added, we have evolved from using a two-bin model system to two bins and one bag system. People here know for the fact that waste segregation at source is a necessity, then why will we move backward and follow a two-bin system.
From Waste To Wealth
Explaining how waste is being used effectively, MrParisutham said, once the collection of waste is done, we send it to the Resource Recovery Park of Mahabalipuram, which is the holistic waste management area. From waste segregation to composting and recycling where waste is converted into electricity, all is done in this plant and that’s how we are mastering the art of waste management.
The recovery park also has the bio-methanation plant that helps in converting food waste generated by the hotels into methane before ultimately converting it into electricity. With a daily capacity to handle 500kg to 800kg of food waste, the plant converts food waste into electricity that is used to light 30 street lamps in the town.
From 85% to 100%, the town aims to achieve this target very soon and hopes that other cities in India too can follow in their footsteps.
We have cracked the waste management game in this town, India is as it is struggling with waste management. Mahabalipuram has set an example for others, if waste management done right, it can lead to success, said V Parisutham.