Downtown

Which group will go zero-waste first?

Snapshots of how residents of the neighbourhood are trying to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills.

Snapshots of how residents of the neighbourhood are trying to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills.  

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A healthy competition is under way in Kumarasamy Nagar, which has a few gated communities. R. RAMASWAMY has the details

When you hear ‘Project Smart Sholls’, what springs to your mind? In all likelihood, you think it has something to do with an arcane subject. There is nothing mysterious about this. It is about a sustained effort to make Sholinganallur a great place to live. Now, you must have guessed that Sholls is a short for Sholinganallur. This project was initiated by Guru Murugesh and Ashwin Sekar, who are residents of Kumarasamy Nagar-Elcot Avenue.

As part of ‘Go Green Go Clean’, which is a subset of Project Smart Sholls, residents welfare associations in the region are trying to create a Zero Waste Community. As part of this initiative, residents are being taught how to segregate waste at source systematically. Activist-volunteers among the residents have been knocking on the doors of other residents to demonstrate the method.

As part of this exercise, domestic helps in each of these houses/ flats are instructed about source segregation in the vernacular language. The “two bin/one bag” model of source segregation is being adopted. Differently-coloured bins and bags have been distributed to the residents and instructions have been displayed on notice boards. The housekeeping staff have been assigned clear responsibilities so that they are able to assist the process and monitor shortcomings.

The afore-mentioned initiatives have been launched and successfully implemented on a pilot basis with members of Project Smart Sholls team stepping up in their respective communities.

Source segregation of waste by around 50 families at Ceebros Belvedere alone has resulted in earnings of Rs. 8000 over the last 3 months through selling recyclables. So far, they have managed to get 250 kg of pure black gold — compost, I mean.

Having kept around one tonne of waste (500 kg of organic waste + 800 kg of scrap metal and recyclables that were sold) from the landfill has given the team a sense of achievement.

Belvedere generates a conservative estimated 3.5 to 4.5 tonnes of garbage a month. Efforts are under way to get all the families in this community to segregate waste at source so that less than 100 kg of waste goes to the landfill every month.

The residents of Lancor South, East and West, Aranya, Redmond Square and Euphoria are also getting started on this initiative. One sees a healthy competition here. It remains to be seen which community will get the honour of being the first in the region to became a ‘zero waste community’.

Here, one has to mention the contribution of Maya and Benzir from Lancor West, who have designed an inexpensive cage to create leaf mulch. The compost will go to the gardens in the various communities, where we are planning to slowly replace ornamental plants with fruit- and vegetable-bearing trees and enable residents to have fresh organic vegetables that they themselves have grown.

(R. Ramaswamy is a resident of Kumarasamy Nagar in Sholinganallur)

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:19:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/Which-group-will-go-zero-waste-first/article14630801.ece

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