Amidst infectious enthusiasm and a substantial crowd, The Hindu’s Clean Chennai workshop, part of its My Chennai My Right campaign, kicked off at Chitlapakkam on Saturday. Residents, across ages, began arriving at the auditorium of N.S.N. Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Tirumurugan Nagar early in the morning. Once the speakers took the stage, the audience was all ears, not just taking down notes but also participating keenly in the interactions that followed.

Read what the residents had to say about the Clean Chennai campaign here.

The day began with presentations by Srinivas Krishnaswamy, founder, Krya, and a solid waste management consultant; Navneeth Raghavan, home composting expert; and Mathew Jose, founder, Paperman. Mr. Krishnaswamy reminded residents that it was their garbage, segregated and otherwise, that found its way to landfills in Perungudi, inside Pallikaranai Marshland and also in Kodungaiyur. He reminded them that by 2015, there would be no landfill sites and that home composting was the only way out.

While Ms. Navneeth demonstrated a simple yet effective method of composting kitchen waste, Mr. Jose displayed an easy-to-use bag that can store paper and plastic waste. The bags would also be used to fund education for children from lower income groups.

Members of the audience displayed a keen grasp of the issues related to garbage disposal. P. Malarvizhi, a resident of Kunrathur, said that the key component of the campaign against garbage would be the spreading of awareness among children while V. Santhanam of Chromepet noted that attempts by residents to segregate at source were pointless as the garbage was mixed by local bodies later.

Many residents such as V. Preetha focussed on domestic efficiency and frugality. “Fifty-one per cent of the total waste generated in homes is compostable. A good portion of this is food — both stale and fresh — that is wasted by households. If we can ensure that not a morsel of food is wasted, this amount will come down considerably,” she said. Chitra Prasad, Correspondent of N.S.N Matriculation School was present, along with several teachers.

On Sunday, a similar workshop will be held at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, ‘Bhavani Campus’, No. 6, Kilpauk Garden Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Pdfs of presentations made at Clean Chennai @ Home workshops in Adyar (Sep 7) and Nungambakkam (Sep 8)

Composting by Navneeth Raghavan

Garbage segregation by Navneeth Raghavan

Managing garbage effectively by Srinivas Krishnaswamy & Preethi Sukumaran

Here is a quick guide to start composting and recycling:

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