It was only when the eight-year-old Deeptisree gave a talk on segregating plastics at the apartment's annual day function that her mother Bhavishya Sundar realised that she had to take a relook at the waste disposing method at her own house.
“It was a revelation to me. I learnt that many people in my apartment have been segregating degradable and non-degradable waste for long. And when my daughter began to give me advice on going green, I decided it is time I do my bit for the environment,” she says.
If the Corporation is finding new ways to tackle the mounting waste, a few city houses have voluntarily pitched in their help. Environmental pressures and unmanageable waste have sparked the interest of some eco-conscious residents to minimise and segregate plastics and other non-degradable waste.
Many apartments have taken a lead by utilising the degradable waste for their green spaces. When Prema Veeraraghavan mooted this idea in her apartment in T.Nagar, there were not many approving nods. “I thought it was a beguilingly simple idea. None supported me but somehow I could not just let the idea die,” says the special educator.
She dug a two-foot pit at the small backyard in her apartment and dumped the vegetable waste every day. To her surprise, she found that the volume of degradable waste gradually rose. “A few of the residents here have also begun to use the pit. The manure created out of it is now being used for the backyard garden. In fact, the excess manure is supplied to some NGOs and nurseries.”
Since last year, the pit has been a source of a new revenue. Mango saplings sprout from the seed thrown into the pit during summers, which now are being distributed to those who needed it. “Nearly 17 saplings have been given out and every sapling are now full of life,” she says.
For people who complain of the stench springing from compost pits, a lot of techniques such as pot compositing and bin composting have been designed, says Exnora founder-president M.B.Nirmal. Observing that the practice of waste segregation was present earlier when disposing waste was a major challenge for the city residents, he said: “After private agencies took up the waste management contract, it became easy for residents to get rid of the waste. They no more bothered to segregate it.”
But with pressure and awareness about climate change building up, many residents are reviving their eco-friendly initiatives. N. V. Ranganayakulu, for instance, has created a lush kitchen garden, with nutrients for the plants supplied by the organic manure generated from his kitchen waste.
“I am planning to take up a terrace gardening in our apartment. There are a lot of myths about composting that should be cracked,” says the resident of Kotturpuram. “For example, a composting pit need not be smelly and does not attract mosquitoes” the resident says.