Hebbal apartment residents move towards zero waste

Andal Jagannathan couldn’t sit back and watch the waste getting mixed up and ending up in the landfill. She took the initiative and along with fellow residents set up a successful Green Committee at the Godrej Woodsman Estate Apartments, Hebbal. "I had to do something about the issue at hand since I felt strongly about it," said Andal.

Sorting waste for composting at Godrej Woodsman Apartments

‘Full Circle’, a member of Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT) and an organization which  is committed to implementing sustainable solutions in the field of solid waste management, ecological sanitation and water conservation is helping the apartment complex with its solid waste management. They have set up a composting unit in the premises of Godrej apartments.

Soon more residents joined in organizing an active Green Committee which oversees the management of solid waste generated by the residents. "We conduct door to door campaigns raising awareness among the 300 residents for the need to segregate their waste into recyclable waste, kitchen waste and dry waste at home itself," said Meenakshi another active green committee member. The committee has made it compulsory for the residents to take cloth bags to the vegetable vendor on the premises.

The housekeeping workers are instructed to distribute green, black and white re-usable bags to segregate their waste. Kitchen waste that goes into the green bags are then taken to the Organic Waste Converter (OWC). The compost mixing machine is fed a good proportion of organic kitchen waste, garden waste (grass and leaves from garden) mixed with a feeder stock of compost. These are then saved in crates and kept for fermentation. The compost which is now ready is used by the horticultural department of the apartment for the gardens.

The recyclable plastic bags, bottles, newspapers and such are segregated from the pile that goes to the landfill. The landfill is thus saved from becoming a dumping ground for all non-degradable waste generated by the residents.

This is especially significant since the 800 apartments, when it reaches full capacity will be generating a lot of waste in the future. About 3,000 Kg of waste is generated per month which is currently giving around 300 Kg of compost. "We have made a good beginning and hope to make our waste management efficient with co-operation from the management and the residents," said Andal who motivates her green team.

Shalini Kannan Charles, a resident and an SWMRT member, conducted a training session for all the housekeeping staff regarding the necessities of keeping the landfills clean. "It is important that we try to keep our landfills clean and save our environment for our future generations," she said raising awareness among the workers regarding the need to segregate and be diligent about their work.

Around 3,500 tones of solid waste is generated by Bangalore city everyday. All of this waste comes from residential and commercial establishments, educational and corporate institutions. All solid waste in cities is supposed to be managed as per the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Handling Rules outlined by the Supreme Court of the country. This legislation makes it mandatory for waste to be segregated at source, to be managed locally without any open burning and final disposal to take place in a scientific landfill. Currently this legislation is not being implemented properly and there is an urgent need to raise awareness among citizens of Bangalore regarding waste management.

Similar initiatives have yielded good results in Platinum City, Diamond District and the ‘Swabhimana’ project in Malleshwaram started by Seetha Ravi. A group of women residents in Sahakarnagar are also undertaking similar initiatives led by Sujatha Ashok, in their block, with door to door campaigns on segregation with the help of ITC Company. Krishna Diamond is another apartment complex spearheading a similar waste management project.

The Godrej Woodsman Green Committee is now planning to have an environmental awareness carnival involving children and parents with creative and educational activities on June 5th, coinciding with World Environment Day.

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