“It’s time we stopped depending on the government for everything”

The stench from piling garbage on Balasubramaniam Street in Mylapore every day only reinforces Srinivas Krishnaswamy’s efforts at source segregation.

A resident of Mylapore, Mr. Krishnaswamy rarely dumps garbage on street corners. “The stench near garbage bins bothers pedestrians. We also see residents in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur suffering because of our waste disposal. So, I have decided not to contribute to waste generation in the city,” says Mr. Krishnaswamy.

A. Noorjahan, councillor of ward 112 which covers Mr. Krishnaswamy’s neighbourhood, says that more such residents may contribute to reduction in garbage generated in the area. “But, most of the residents do not bother to segregate waste. We force conservancy workers to work hard and ensure that the neighbourhood remains clean. Efforts taken for conservancy operations could be channelled for other purposes if residents shoulder some responsibility,” says Ms. Noorjahan.

Mr. Krishnaswamy attributes his success in preventing waste from entering the city’s dumping yards to his choice of consumer products procured from the market. “We do not buy products packed in plastics that cannot be recycled. It is not a jolly thing to do. We carry our own bags for purchase of consumer goods,” he adds.

The family has commissioned a compost yard on the first floor of their house where biodegradable waste is collected. The family has set an example for zero-waste household in a relatively smaller area on the first floor.

Radhika Rammohan, a resident in a larger household in Adyar, says she segregates recyclables such as plastics, glass and paper. The compost pile occupies about 6 ft x 4 ft. The fine finished compost only motivates us, she adds.

V. Balakrishnan, a resident of Besant Nagar, designed his own equipment after retirement from Railways in 2008. “The equipment converts garbage and kitchen waste generated from my household into organic manure by aerobic composting without any odour. Many people adopt my design in their backyard to reduce their garbage and kitchen waste. Since October 2008, I have never sent my garden and kitchen waste to corporation landfills like in Perungudi. The organic manure produced in my home is used for gardening.

“Details on my zero-waste equipment can be seen on my website, www.enrichearth.com. Residents’ associations have emulated the model. My aim is to have a pollution-free Chennai. My work towards this end is to make people aware of their social responsibility and not depend on the government for everything,” he says.

My Chennai My Right, an inititative by The Hindu

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