Garbage project down the drain

A pilot project of Zero Waste Management (ZWM) was introduced in Dollars Colony, RMV 2nd stage on March 1st 2009. However, just after a few days after its inception the residents’ association of the area called for the project to shut down.


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Dr Meenakshi Bharath, gynecologist by profession and a social activist had taken the initiative to bring in this ZWM project in Dollars Colony. A go-ahead was given by the Dollars Colony residents asociation, SHOW. 

ZWM, synonymously called "Vellore Model", an initiative from C Srinivasan from Vellore, has been in the action for years now in Vellore district in Tamil Nadu. The SHOW members provided Srinivas an unused empty plot of land located at RVM 2nd stage. However, on March 19th the association members asked Srinivasan to vacate the shed.

Srinivasan is a member of the seven member committee set up by Government of India for the Solid and Liquid Waste Management for the entire rural India.

Mysore city corporation women Self Help Group leaders and environment engineer (50 member team from Mysore city corporation) even visited the site a few days after the project’s inception and was really impressed.

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The SHOW members initially showed a lot of enthusiasm and supported the pilot project. This colony has 320 houses and 100 of them were doing the primary segregation (which is basically separating the dry waste and wet waste in two separate dustbins).

SHOW president Dr Jagadish said that the pilot project is a very good model but may not suite the cities like Bangalore.

Srinivasan said that the people from the colony wanted the project to continue and expressed their dissatisfaction for closing it down to .

Reasons cited by the SHOW members for asking the pilot project to shut down were

  • It is quite expensive to maintain the labour

But Sirinivasan says the amount generated from segregation of the waste materials for just 20 days has exceeded the cost involved. The amount of the segregated materials is estimated to be around Rs 75000.

So just doing the collection for another 1-2 months will fetch far more income and that will be sufficient for the sustenance of the program without any assistance from the association.

In just 20 days, Srinivasan team had collected and segregated ‘waste’ worth more than Rs 75,000 (estimated). Compost beds are priced at Rs 5000 per bed, egg shell powder at Rs 100 per kg, coal powder at Rs 40 per kg and so on and so forth.

This money will be divided among the workers and this is their livelihood.

  • Flies in the shed

But according to Sirinivasan, it is quite normal to attract flies as the heat generated from the waste bed (for composting) breeds flies, but this normally controlled easily by allowing chickens in side the shed. But the association has not allowed it and Srinivasan is using the "pest control trap" to capture the flies and so it is not a major issue.

  • Smell is coming out of the shed

Srinivasan says people should first understand the difference between the "smell" and "stink". Smell is a very common thing, it could come out pealing a jack fruit or from cooking masala curry. Stink is the one which brings bad odour. But in this case, the members complained only about the smell, which is a natural smell of a composting bed.

Nipped in the bud

It is quite clear that this project could have continued. It could also have been a great example of waste management and income generation project.

This kind of projects should get the support from the public and the government and not influenced by few individuals and this would have become a clear role model. A successful pilot project for the whole of Bangalore is just nipped in the bud.

Do we really deserve the efforts of Srinivasan who is relentlessly and selflessly working for the society without really getting any monitory benefit or otherwise?

What message we are telling to the likes of Srinivasan? Can we as citizens do something to make this a successful project, not letting it go? 

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7 Comments

  1. I am living in banglore..and i would love to understand the project..very much intrested in waste management and m planning to open my own waste mangement thing..but be4 that i need to understand the basics..i hope here people can guide me

  2. What are the reasons for this project not taking off? Labour? No financial support? Protest from residents?
    What can we do to solve these hurdles?
    Have we really made an effort to support the project by trying to get labour force through various NGO’s, Women’s self help groups around Bangalore?
    How else could the project have been funded other than from the RWA? Could the BBMP have been roped in to fund this project as a model for their Garbage Segregation Pilot project in various wards?
    Have the residents been educated or informed about this project? How could the residents been made to get involved in this important pilot project and how could they have been motivated to support this project?
    The more we go deep into the matter it appears that we give up too soon and we give up before trying our best and we give up before asking for help.
    This project is a tried and tested one and yes it may have to be customized to suit the Bangalore situation, but why are we giving up before putting in our best efforts?

  3. I have visited this place and was amazed to see the amount of effort Mr Srinivasan and his team from Vellore has put in to segregate the waste. The egg shell powder was ready for selling. There was a mount of leaf mulch into which I put my hand to feel the temperature inside – it was close to 60 deg with the bactierial action! All I saw in his video was working – alive in Dollars colony .. Sad to know this project is closed.. Would have remained a model for many associations in Bangalore.. Anyway we all now know Srini’s Vellore model is workable in Bangalore too – ofcourse we need to have all the components the cattle and chickens! Poor leadership at Dollar’s colony – sad for residents..

  4. the smell caused in the RMV colony was only because segregation was not done in a proper manner!
    if proper segregation was done then there the stench is bound to not be present! aproject like the one in RMV should continue!
    Kisd like us eco cops realise the importance of segregation.our future is at stake. we have to work towards a greener and cleaner evnironment and recycling is the first step.
    i think RMV should restart the project

  5. A statement like ” the pilot project is a very good model but may not suite the cities like Bangalore” by Dr Jagadish is nothing but a political statement. I wonder whether Dr Jagadish visiting some of the other areas like Dollar colony where this activity of segregation and composting is going for more than 2 years. Our Citizens forum members visiting the place a year back and it has taken place much before this big hype of segregation. BBMP supported this activity by giving a plot.

  6. There’s a difference between smell and STINK!! Also, please start segregating your kitchen waste properly. Otherwise there is bound to be a stink!!! Please don NOT demolish what facilities you’ve got. It’s a great opportunity!!! We kids realise the importance of segregation. It is OUR future that is at stake. Please restart the program, and strive to make a greener and cleaner planet!!

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