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A few days ago, I came back from the morning run to my newspaper and breakfast. What I read on the first page made me spill my bowl of sambhar all over the supplement. Our elected representatives – MPs, MLAs and corporators were back from a junket to Salem where they saw a plant that can process mixed waste.
I personally like folks in position of power traveling as it opens the mind, so have no problems with junkets. What interested me was that our Mayor was quoted as saying that a similar plant is already in the works and within a year will start accepting mixed waste in Bangalore.
I did find his extortion to still segregate wasteful – why segregate if it is going to a plant that will anyway segregate and government is spending crores on it. I too am perpetually short of time though my two kids will miss the ‘guess-the-right-bin’ game that we play all the time. Along with tons of other such citizen activists, I have been spending almost 50% of my spare time getting waste segregation going in my building, and now in my neighbourhood. I could now just drop all this and start watching Big Boss and maybe a couple of movies.
Alas, I was woken up from my day dream as my daughter wanted to know which bin to drop my soaked newspaper. Having read and discussed waste management issues ad nauseum with fellow citizens, following questions came to my mind:
- If all newspaper and pizza boxes come soaked in dal and sambhar, then their 70% value is destroyed.
- If a battery and lead-containing toys are sitting inside the food waste and later that food waste is composted, I would be concerned about the food chain getting contaminated.
- Would the energy expended for taking out the waste out of a small medicine glass bottle make it an environmentally more harmful solution?
- Add to this the industrial, medical and sanitary waste, the cocktail will be deadly.
With all due respect, I think the better solutions are emerging from concerned citizens. I went to Bhoomi festival on October 2 and was truly inspired by a few folks there. Here are simple suggestions they had for us citizens:
- Refuse single use plastic – especially bottled water and plastic bags
- Use steel or any other reusable material plates, glasses etc instead of using single use plastic, thermocol or paper ones.
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Use cloth hankies instead of tissues.
- Use eco-friendly shecup or reusable sanitary pads
- Create a free market in your neighbourhood where folks can give and take stuff they don’t want or stuff they need – for free.
- And of course, segregate, segregate, segregate.
My message to our elected representatives is that we citizens do want to do the right thing for our environment. The problem currently is at our gates literally where the segregated waste is mixed often. Help us to help you. Together we can clean the city.
So you segregate waste, what happens next?
How to segregate waste in offices?
Understanding how to segregate waste
How to segregate waste in apartments?
Look who BBMP signed up to process waste in Bengaluru