Downtown

Women take charge of trash management

Some of the initiators of the programme: Sasikala R, Lakshmi M and Annapurni R. Photos: Special Arrangement  

When the women of Sunnyvale Apartments in Ayanavaram have a gathering, they are not looking to just have a good time. They discuss matters of significance, which include improving their homes and surroundings.

Six months ago, they came up with an idea which is now paying off. They introduced a system called Wealth2Waste with the objective of reducing the amount of waste generated by 400-odd families living in Sunnyvale.

“When we learnt that the waste generated by our apartment complex is close to 500 kg a day, and that all of it was getting dumped in the landfill, we felt there must be a way of getting rid of the garbage without harming the environment,” says Lakshmi M., one of those who initiated the programme.

Lakshmi and the other initiators, which include Kala S., Annapurni R., Sashikala R., Sheetal R. and the executive committee of the apartment complex Association, have implemented various methods to ensure the smooth functioning of the programme. The method that showed the greatest potential is the “two-bin, one-bag” system, which involved segregation of waste at the individual level.

“Every house was given two bins — one red and one green — and a cloth bag. The red bin must be used for medical waste, the green one, for vegetable and compostable waste, and the bag for plastics,” says Arunachalam M. of Sunnyvale Association’s executive committee. This system, he adds, is so easy that households can implement it themselves.

Still, to ensure 100 percent participation from all residents, the initiating committee had held training programmes for them.

“We had separate training sessions for the women, children, and household help as to how they can effectively segregate the waste. We’ve also made posters, explaining which waste has to be put in which container, and put them up in all the common areas,” says Arunachalam.

The segregated waste is then collected every morning by the cleaning staff employed by the apartment complex, and then further sorted out to be sent to its respective locations.

Half of the compostable waste is sent to the government bio-fuel plant in Avadi, and the other half is used in Sunnyvale’s own compost pit, whereas the paper waste material are sold to the local recycler. As of now, only the medical waste is sent to the Corporation's landfills, and to avoid that, the association is working on obtaining an incinerator of their own. “The goal,” says Arunachalam, “is to become a zero-waste community.” The response and support from the other members have been encouraging, says Sasikala, another initiator. “Almost 90 percent of the residents have readily accepted the system and started implementing it,” she says.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 1:31:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/Women-take-charge-of-trash-management/article16078781.ece

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