People volunteered to segregate garbage when the group explained the problems faced by communities living near landfills

A waste segregation initiative that started with 40 houses on one street, Sada Zero now covers 500 houses on 25 streets. The initiative was launched by residents of Sadashivnagar two years ago, and is now a model adopted by other localities across the city.

Inspirational talk

Dasarathi G.V., a resident and volunteer, said that a group of residents was inspired by a talk on the basics of segregation.

“That was how it began. Thirty houses volunteered initially. It was later taken to 40 houses on one street. In the first week itself, we were able to achieve a success rate of 70 per cent.”

Mr. Dasarathi said the group was neither a registered society nor part of the residents’ welfare association.

He claimed that people volunteered to segregate garbage when the group explained the problems faced by communities living near landfills. “We made presentations and explained the process to the residents. Every two weeks, we added houses on one new street/ road.”

He said that volunteers went with the pourakarmikas to each household. “We did a lot of segregation with the pourakarmikas to show the residents how to go about it. This was mainly to break the mindset that waste is dirty. It is clean if it is segregated properly,” he added.

Mr. Dasarathi said they did not employ collectors under Sada Zero, nor had they tied up with any organisation.

Dry waste collection

The pourakarmikas supplement their income by selling the dry waste collected from each house once a week. “There are nine pourakarmikas who collect waste from 500 houses. On an average, each house generates dry waste worth Rs. 40 a month. So, the pourakarmikas share the Rs. 20,000 that they get by selling the dry waste each month.”

Before the BBMP made it mandatory to segregate waste at source, around 65 per cent of the houses voluntarily segregated their garbage.

“Since October 1 when segregation became mandatory, the percentage has increased to 95,” Mr. Dasarathi said.

The group has also been helping the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) further its campaign. According to Mr. Dasarathi, if the BBMP explains to the public the problems faced by people living near landfills, they will start segregating their waste.