Bearhatty Panchayat in Coonoor takes baby steps in waste management

Bearhatty Panchayat workers readying a pit to segregate and compost waste.   | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

A pilot project in Bearhatty Panchayat in Coonoor is attempting to set an example on how waste can be managed at source in village panchayats in the Nilgiris.

The project is spearheaded by local activists in association with village panchayat officials. The initiative is spurred by the fact that local bodies have no sustainable means of processing the waste generated in the villages, unlike in municipal areas, where regular door-to-door collection of waste is being undertaken.

Bearhatty Panchayat president G. Jagathesan told The Hindu the panchayat was home to more than 3,000 people in 14 villages. He said that the pilot project was undertaken in Arul Nagar (Ward No. 7). “It has been one of the panchayat’s goals to become completely self-sufficient in managing its waste, and with the help of local activists and the Collector we have taken a first step towards this goal,” said Mr. Jagathesan. “To get people segregate the waste generated in their homes involved efforts by the panchayat president, councillor and even the parish priest to speak to residents about the importance of segregating waste at source,” said Shobana Chandrashekar, a member of the Make Ooty Beautiful (MOB) Project, a citizens’ collective that has been spearheading clean-up and greening projects across Udhagamandalam town and the Nilgiris for the last few years.

A worker has been employed to wait and collect the waste from residents at a drop-point in the village and record the details in an attendance register. “The register logs whether a household has dropped off their waste for the day, as well as the quantity and whether it has been correctly segregated,” said Ms. Chandrashekar.

Cecily Kumari, Councillor of Ward 7 in Bearhatty Panchayat, said that segregating waste has been incentivised and that children too now regularly drop off segregated waste. “This is a clear indicator that our message is reaching the public, ” she said. The wet waste is composted in pits dug at site, while recyclable, e-waste and non-recyclable waste is sent to the larger recycling and processing centres in Coonoor. If the initiative proves to be successful, Ms. Chandrashekar hopes that more private organisations would come forward to help implement the model in more village panchayats in the Nilgiris.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 4:05:13 PM |

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