A sterling initiative by Raja Street residents

By TheHindu on 18 Nov 2016 | read
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The initiative, which was started last year, has now spread to neighbouring streets
They are now composing waste in a small way and want the Corporation to help them scale it up.

Residents of Raja Street in Mandaveli started an awareness campaign about garbage segregation last year. Following this, some residents got enthusiastic and got cracking with source segregation almost immediately. They wanted to take it step by step. As the first step, they started dry waste segregation and began a monthly disposal of dry waste at Kuppathotti.com. Every participating house ensured that they retained dry recyclable waste in their house, be it a shampoo sachet, a cornflakes carton, a biscuits packet or the cheapest plastic packing that is used for groceries.

Milk packets were thoroughly washed and dried and kept separately. Now, at least 25 per cent of the houses in this area are practising dry waste segregation, thereby making sure the plastics don’t end up in the landfills.

It is however becoming difficult to persuade more people to adopt this practice as not everyone has the space to keep dry waste for a month.

Kanti Neelamegham says, “It is indeed a great feeling to see that I can stop so much plastic from landing in the garbage yard. I live in an individual house and have about four cartons in my house that get filled in a fortnight. It would be helpful if the monthly collection could be done every fortnight.”

Currently, Kuppathotti.com does the collection only once a month.

Other residents have similar concerns about holding dry waste in their house for long.

If more people join the initiative and if a fortnightly collection is organised, more residents will join in, without hesitation.

Composting

Finding a way to compost green organic waste and generate rich manure from it has always been a suggested solution.

Last Navaratri, when each house had loads of Puja flowers to dispose of, Dwaraka Apartment started vermi-composting using the flowers, and this initiative was inspired by Shankar of Kalyan Nagar and TAKSRA.

A year on, the apartment has harvested about 10 sacks of rich compost which is being used for the green activities on Raja Street.

A few of us even got together and conducted a meeting where composting techniques were discussed. Sumitra Srikanth was the resource person. After the meeting, a few residents opted for vermi-composting and anaerobic composting using Bokashi too.

Inspiring other streets

Inspired by these activities on Raja Street, the energetic trio — Subramanian, Venkatesan and Usha of Raja Street extension, Kandaswamy Street — conducted a walkathon. They even had a meeting with Ramky officials and had them join the walkathon. They went from door to door distributing flyers and two bins requesting residents to segregate garbage as organic waste and non-decomposable waste. Motivated, the residents joined the initiative and began to dispose of segregated garbage.

Difficulties

Not all apartments have the space, time and motivation to implement composting. People are ready to segregate and pass their organic waste separately provided someone does a common large-scale composting.

What is needed? Help from Corporation in ensuring door-to-door collection of organic waste and sending this waste to nearby composting units.

We will definitely need support from government agencies to have a working solution.

(Ganga Sridhar is a resident of Raja Street)

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