AGRA: Perturbed by the defunct waste management infrastructure in the city, two locals youths, both engineers, pioneered the 'Go Get Garbage' project to turn waste collection into a profitable business model and reduce the cost of transportation, while simultaneously pushing the local residents to inculcate the habit of dumping garbage in bins after segregating it.
Himanshu Mishra, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, and Rahul Jain, alumnus of IIT Roorkee, started a pilot project six months ago in Radhanagar colony of Soami Bagh nagar panchayat of Agra district and successfully disposed of several tonnes of garbage without much effort.
Mishra, 33, a post-graduate in product designing said, "We started working on a solid waste management programme back in 2015, collecting garbage door-to-door with charges of Rd 30 per month for each household, but it failed because residents found it an expensive affair and were hesitant to shell out money to clean their city. Later we came with an alternative idea and started segregating solid waste into various categories, which further helped in disposing of it easily with little transport cost."
Jain, 25, a graduate in production and industrial engineering said, "Waste is a complex issue but requires simple alternative solutions. We now don't charge households for garbage collection, but bring the solid waste to our resource recovery center (RRC) where garbage is segregated in categories such as medical waste, paper waste, bio-degradable, non-biodegradable, plastic and others. Later, scrap dealers buy our collected paper waste, bottles and other solid waste, while the remaining is converted into compost and given to farmers to use as fertilizer. This reduces transportation cost, makes profit for sanitation workers and residents get to live in a clean environment."
The two engineers claimed that so far they have segregated and diverted only 106 tonnes of garbage but now they are targeting 250 tonnes of garbage per month, which is roughly 1% of the total solid waste produced by Agra in a day. Currently, their pilot project is covering 80 households, but they aim to cover 8000 in the next six months.
Impressed with the two engineers' initiative, the Soami Bagh nagar panchayat officials are discussing with Mishra and Jain about expanding the system. Agra Cantt Board too is in discussions with them.
Sanjay Kapoor, chairman of the nagar panchayat said, "Their solid management programme is feasible and we are impressed with the results. We are now thinking of expanding it across the entire panchayat area."
In Swachh Survekshan 2017, Agra ranked 264 in the list of 434 cities. Agra produces 960 metric tons of solid waste daily.