Anita awarded by TNPCB for efforts towards greener living

After generating enough buzz about ‘saving planet earth’ around World Environment Day, many of us have this propensity to return to the business as usual mode pretty quickly.

Anita Christina, a true blue Puducherian, is a shining exception.

Growing up in Lawspet, she was quick to realise that much of our environment-saving steps perhaps need to begin right at home. In her neighbourhood, she witnessed first-hand the havoc that can ensue when sewage water mixes with rainwater, flooding the streets and seeping into homes.

“I had decided early on I wanted to work in an area which dealt with this mess,” says Ms. Anita, an M. Tech in environmental engineering from the Pondicherry Engineering College.

“The leakage of gutter water is a major cause for a number of diseases. Somehow, we are only concerned about keeping our own houses clean and cannot be bothered about the waste we dump outside,” says Ms. Anita.

Ms. Anita and her husband P. Ramesh, an architect, have designed their ‘green home’ at Gorimedu on the principles of zero waste management. “We have incorporated steps which can be easily adopted in urban homes,” she says.

An average household (4 persons) in Puducherry produces around 2 kg of domestic waste per day, according to an estimate of the environment department.

“Today we use potable water for flushing toilets and watering plants. In 10 years, we may not have water to drink,” says Ms. Anita. One of the key projects in the house is the utilisation of grey water (soapy water from washing and bathrooms).

Grey water is treated naturally in a zone which has Canna indica plants. These plants remove pollutants and absorb phosphates from soapy water. Water is further treated with UV rays. The treated water is then pumped to the overhead tank to be used to flush toilets in the house. The treated water is also used for watering herbal garden and maintaining a fish pond in the house.

“This water treatment ensures there is no sewage water from the house and is also cost-effective. Water saving is up by 40 per cent,” she says.

“What happens at dumping yards is that waste matter mixes with rainwater and enters the ground, leading to water pollution and depletion,” says Ms. Anita.

The couple have also installed a biogas generation unit. Kitchen and garden waste, and night soil are fed into the modernised tank. The biogas which is produced is connected to a kitchen stove. As a direct outcome, from getting an LPG cylinder once every 35 days, they only require three cylinders an entire year.

Apart from these, a smokeless stove which uses coconut shells, production of vermin compost from garden waste, LED bulbs and day lighting for energy conservation and a rainwater harvesting unit which supplies water for cooking and drinking at their house complete the renewable methods adopted by the couple.

Plastics and paper are collected to be given away for recycling. Occasionally, it is the odd tablet or chips packing that make its way as waste out of the house.

Ms. Anita, who runs a consultancy, has been invited by the Tamil Nadu government to develop a zero waste (solid and liquid) management project for Thiruchitabalam village in Villupuram at a cost of Rs. 1 crore.

She was also awarded by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on Thursday for her efforts towards greener living.

“Have we thought of what we leave our future generations? We have to do more than just acquire properties for them,” Ms. Anita signs off.

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