Trying to understand means to involve the community in recycling plastic and paper took her to a landfill. The visit to the landfill on the city’s outskirts had such an impact that Vani Murthy decided then and there to not send any waste from her house to the landfill. Thus began her journey with promoting segregation of waste and composting.
The 54-year-old resident of Malleswaram is now trying to get 10 lakh citizens in the city to take a pledge to not send any organic waste to the dump yards for a week and compost instead. The project — Swachagraha — will be launched next month.
The project is being promoted by the Solid Waste Management Round Table, of which Ms. Murthy has been part of since 2008.
“The idea of the project is to get people to realise that it is not difficult and that it is an easy way to bring about a big change,” she said, and added that all those who take a pledge are given a simple kit.
There are many reasons for not segregating waste and composting at home that range from bad smell to lack of time. But there are two reasons why everybody should do it, she said. “Firstly, composting at home gives one the opportunity to grow vegetables and bring back healthy food on the dinner table. And secondly, it makes one respect the environment, which is a great thing for the future of the planet,” she explained.
Irrespective of the space available, everybody can take up composting at home. Just segregating waste and composting for week is enough for people to realise that it can become a lifelong process.
“There is nothing more fulfilling than growing your own vegetables and knowing that you are not adding to the garbage that is polluting some place. It has been a very fulfilling and fun journey. With more people signing up for the Swachagraha project, hopefully Bengaluru will become a model for other cities,” Ms. Murthy added.
Projects she was involved with:
1. Cleaning up of the voters’ list for one booth in Malleswaram, which resulted in high voter turnout in 2007
2. Was part of Bala Janaagraha where in schoolchildren were taught about importance of civic participation
3. Member of the Solid Waste Management Round Table since 2008; and promotes composting and urban farming
Suggestions for the government/BBMP:
1. Enforce segregation of waste at source
2. Bring in a uniform system for collection of waste and scientific disposal
3. Ensure that dry waste doesn’t leave the ward and reach the landfill
Suggestions for citizens:
1. Understand that landfills are not the solution
2. It is our duty to segregate the waste that we generate
3. Bring health back to your family by starting to compost organic waste at home and growing your own vegetables