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.
Those of you who have been following my blog, Facebook updates and media coverage might have come across the efforts that went into planning and executing a successful waste management (WM) in our apartment. Here’s a quick look at this ongoing mammoth exercise. I sincerely believe in this: Unless we know how to segregate, we will not know how to compost. If we are not ready to turn unwanted kitchen or garden waste into that beautiful organic manure, we will not go organic.
In August 2012, Bangalore’s garbage explosion got not just national, but international media coverage when people living in the city’s backyard—Mylappanahalli, Mavallipura & Mandur landfills—protested and sent back BBMP garbage trucks.
The reasons: Unnatural deaths (all successfully denied or hushed up by the contractor mafia) due to irredeemably polluted air and water and soil, increasing infant mortality rate, skin cancer, interminable respiratory diseases, rashes, itches, burning eyes; farmland rendered completely uncultivable due to highly toxic leachate and sudden fire breakouts (recently on Feb 1, 2013) engulfing acres and acres of land.
In February 2013, BBMP begged Mandur villagers to let it offload the sins of Bangaloreans for 4-5 months more. We are living on borrowed time. Meanwhile, these accursed people live on with no land to till, no potable water to drink and no air to breathe.
Somewhere, the realisation that our privileged existence should not blind us to what lakhs of other human beings are suffering in our own city was gnawing at us. Fortunately, a timely BBMP legislation making segregation at source mandatory on October 1, 2012, gave just the kind of nudge that Residents’ Green Committee needed to get going.
So, it began. Many meetings with residents, housekeepers, gardeners, maids and cooks and the entire workforce—including drivers, electricians, plumbers and security guards—that enters our 202-strong Sobha Althea-Azalea in Yelahanka was trained in basic waste management principles. We designed a simple primary segregation mechanism wherein residents manage three types of waste at home: kithen, dry and sanitary waste. The drywaste gets further segregated into 21-22 types: many types of plastic and paper and glass, canisters, wood, rubber, cardboard, etc. All this is sold to drywaste recyclers who transport it to respective factories as raw material and the money is distributed among the housekeepers as an incentive.
All this took not more than two months of sustained efforts from the committee members. What seemed like a gigantic task initially is now a matter a habit, that’s what our conscientious residents say. Barring a few mishaps here and there, we have 90-95% of compliance on any given day.
And, what a pleasure it is to see three bins with neatly segregated waste kept outside each flat/villa every single day!
Next: GOING ORGANIC-4: Just compost it, dammit!
(Please visit ‘Endlessly Green’ category for more articles on nature/environment).