New Delhi: Waste segregation into wet and dry is the mantra of the people of Bengaluru’s Hosur Sarjapur Road (HSR) colony, who are part of the Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT). SWMRT is a collective solid waste management (SWM) practitioners working for adoption of sustainable waste management practices by citizens and municipalities, for improving public health, safe food, clean air and water and inclusive livelihoods. Every household residing there is responsible for managing their kitchen and garden waste, and they have been doing it since 2016.
To accelerate their efforts towards solid waste management and promote the process of composting, SWMRT, along with various citizen groups, policymakers, and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), started a city-wide citizen awareness campaign, SwachaGraha. Through the campaign, SWMRT aims to get one million Bengalureans to take a pledge to compost.
Under the campaign, SWMRT established SwachaGraha Kalika Kendra, which is India’s first waste management learning centre in the form of a theme park, where individuals can learn the proper practice of managing their kitchen and garden waste throguh composting. There are about 20 methods of composting taught at the Kendra. The people who come here can then choose a composting method that works best for their specific situation. The centre also educates visitors on how compost can be used to grow healthy, chemical-free vegetables and greens.
Explaining how individuals are taught waste management, Shanti Tummala, member of the Solid Waste Management Round Table, said,
We invite apartments to come here and learn. So, they learn the whole process of composting, which gives them confidence, and we hand-hold them, if required. After visiting the Kendra, several people in the colony have started composting. We are here to encourage decentralised processing because waste, when it comes in huge hundreds of tonnes to one location, causes problems. Decentralised waste processing is the way forward to mitigate the problem. Therefore, we need learning centres like SwachaGraha for it.
The larger vision of the SwachaGraha campaign is to reduce the burden of waste on landfills and to encourage individuals to start a ‘Green Spot’ through compost. The vision also aims to inspire individuals to contribute their time towards greening their city, their apartment complex, and their homes.
Vasuki Iyengar, Member, SWMRT, said,
Our intent is to divert the precious kitchen waste going to the landfill. If we can divert it from the landfill, convert it into compost, there are the trees in the park, the trees on the road are all starving and hungry for this organic matter. We should actually feed them.
Mr Iyengar said that it is the duty of every individual to dedicate their time and energy towards social welfare.
There is a need for more and more volunteers. We need to allocate some time for society, and that can only be done if we learn to manage our personal and social work schedules. Per week, if you can spare four to six hours, it can make a lot of difference.
The hope is that a little training at the SwachaGraha Kalika Kendra, can enable people to contribute to the herculean efforts of bringing down the mountains of garbage dotting the landscape of towns and cities.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.