GOING ORGANIC-2: Outsourcing lung space

A series of articles based on my personal experience of turning our manicured garden, used to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, into completely organic with the help of like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.

Frangipani Flowers

In a majority of cases, apartments sprout on what was a cultivated land or a lakebed or both, previously. Thousands of trees get uprooted to make way for a gated community. This is happening at an alarming pace especially in green areas like North Bangalore. Relatively greener, that is.

While the builder’s landscaping team selects species (mostly exotic as I wrote in Part-1 of this series), nurtures the saplings and takes care of the garden till the property is handed over to individual owners, the mantle falls on the resident’s association as the builder leaves the scene. But it takes time for a community to come together, build a management committee. If that happens despite delay, there’s still hope of turning things around.

In other cases, the owners simply hand it over to a management facility firm for whom plants and trees are just inanimate objects, things to be maintained. Despite paying higher maintenance charges to such firms, residents often lose their freedom to question. Some don’t even want to question so long as they have a roof on their head or an investment option.

Let’s look at what generally happens in a property where residents come together and build an association. You hire a facility management (FM) staff to manage the property who often lack skill-set in anything to do with gardening, forget organic gardening. The FM usually outsources landscaping to contractors, most often the suggestion comes from the builder itself. While owners get busy setting their own house in order, what happens beyond it naturally becomes the last priority.

While drawing a contract on outsourcing, the focus is more on how to cut costs. What kind of subsidised synthetic fertilisers are used or what a lethal combination of pesticides gets sprayed with alarming regularity do not even enter the realms of safety and security for these mindsets involved in decision-making. If residents themselves don’t question it, we cannot expect the FM to give a hoot. Can we?

These reportedly self-sustaining communities—with their own security apparatus, water and landscaped gardens—often do not think managing their own waste falls within the definition of self-sustainability. Anyway, that’s a different story altogether.

Ironically, the level of focus in hiring a security agency is much more intense than ensuring a well-maintained water management system, a waste management system and a garden that is not condemned to the whims and fancies of the contractor.

This is how it all began in our apartment until some committed individuals came together and started thinking differently.


Next: Learn to dump it right first!

Related links: Going organic-1: How dumb can we get about pesticides?

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