Without much fanfare and publicity residents of Radhika Avenue and Radhika Avenue Extension in P.N. Pudur in Ward 16 have been segregating waste for quite sometime now. The residents collect the wet and dry wastes in two bins, handover the same to the conservancy worker, who dumps them accordingly in the two partitions of his or her pushcart, says K.V. Thirumal, the area sanitary supervisor.

Even if the residents fail, the conservancy worker, R. Murugan, segregates and dumps the waste when he collects the same from the residents.

The segregation process started by chance a few months ago when Mr. Thirumal was holding a meeting with conservancy workers in the area. A few residents who passed by took interest to enquire what the meeting was all about.

After exchange of basic information, the Corporation workers and the residents had a verbal duel after the latter started complaining about lack of basic amenities.

During the course of complaints and counter-complaints, Mr. Thirumal threw a challenge to the residents: he asked if they were ready to segregate the waste.

To his surprise, the residents accepted. “The residents were interested in keeping their surroundings clean and the challenge served as an opportunity,” says P. Muruganandam, a resident.

Soon the residents convened a meeting that Mr. Thirumal addressed. He told the residents the types of wastes generated at houses, how the wet and dry waste had to be segregated and stored and how the wastes had to be handed over to the conservancy worker.

After the meeting, almost all the residents began segregating waste, Mr. Murugan says and adds that even if a few residents fail to segregate the waste, he does so. And when residents handover wet waste in plastic covers, he dumps the waste in the appropriate container and the cover in the other container meant for dry waste.

The wastes Mr. Murugan collects goes to the two bins in the area – green and white. The green holds the wet, degradable waste and the white the dry, recyclable waste. And from there the waste goes to Vellalore.

The impact of the segregated collection is that the quantity of solid waste in the drain has come down, says Mr. Thirumal.

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