When a veritable army of 35 turned up at Russel Market on Sunday morning, they did not come for brinjals or cauliflowers. Instead, the volunteers went around the market propagating segregation of garbage generated by the assorted shops.
Volunteers from the Solid Waste Management Round Table, Green Commandos, Waste Wise and Radio Active of Jain Group of Institutions spoke to them about the importance of segregating garbage at source and recycling the dry waste.
N.S. Ramakanth from the Solid Waste Management Round Table said that the programme was initially supposed to be a clean-up drive. “However, we decided to first create awareness among the shopkeepers about the importance of segregation. So, we divided ourselves into batches of two or three and covered almost all shops in the main market area,” he said.
On Sunday morning, there was a lot of garbage in and around the market and the vegetable vendors said it had not been cleared since Saturday.
Shopkeepers informed them that garbage from Saturday had also not been lifted. “We explained to them that waste from the market is transported to the Mandur landfill, drawing local residents' protests. They then realised that by segregating the waste, the amount going to the landfill will come down,” Mr. Ramakanth said.
At the fish market, the volunteers found that several thermocol containers, in which fish is brought to the market, were being disposed of along with the garbage. “Thermocol has no weight, but has volume. We convinced the fish vendors to store the containers, which could then be recycled with the other dry waste. Just by segregating dry waste, the volume will come down by almost 50 per cent,” Mr. Ramakanth said. They had sought permission of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Siddaiah to construct a small shed to store these containers. “We met with the engineers concerned, who assured us that construction would start at the earliest.”
Selling dry waste
Shopkeepers at the market have agreed to segregate dry waste, including paper and plastics, which they will sell every other day at Rs. 2 a kg.
The Round Table tried out segregation at the City Market and 12 tonnes of it was collected last month. A five-tonne biogas converter will soon be installed in there and the proposal is pending with the Standing Committee, he said.