Merci et au revoir, Claire!

‘Earth Citizen’ Claire Rao

Guitar strings, candle waste, broken bangles…

These are the things, among many other, that environmental activist Claire Rao has currently listed out as her top priorities that need urgent sorting-out and has been doing everything possible to make sure they reach proper recycling destinations. This has to happen before she herself lands in France, her home country, after over a decade of life lived here in Bangalore within what she calls, “our ecological limits”. Continue reading

Soil Recipe-5: Fungal diseases? This coconut-buttermilk solution can pack a powerful punch!


The secret of this Soil Recipe lies in the simplicity of its ingredients. When prepared to perfection, this recipe containing coconut, buttermilk, turmeric, asafoetida and fruit rejects can help your plants develop resistance against fungal diseases. Plants grow healthy and begin to flower profusely. Try this recipe and share it among your friends. It does take a little effort to save our own living environment from being poisoned by pesticides. But it will all be worth it. Continue reading

Zero-waste temple: This is where, my friends, God smiles!

There’s this beautiful peepal tree with its roots resting in infinity and boughs arching over the Sri Shakthi Kalyana Mahaganapathi Temple located at Kalyana Nagar, Banaswadi.

True, almost every temple or village in India has at least one such tree standing tall in all its nakedness with a lump of sacred threads wound around it. No one can say for sure what each thread would mean individually: Pain, anguish, victory, desire, devotion, gratitude, joy or frustration. But weave them together, a firm pattern of meaning emerges on its own: unconditional surrender. Continue reading

This 24-hour composter was on fire, literally!

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A simple human error resulted in this machine catching fire and damaging the roof of DSR Woodwinds apartment’s compost room six months ago. It seems beyond repair now and has been dumped in the parking lot. (Pics: SH)

This is an incident that unfolded at DSR Woodwinds apartment, Sarjapur Road. An automatic 24-hour machine given by the builder to compost kitchen waste caught fire when a staff member mistakenly switched on the machine after sundown. Within hours, the machine was spewing out flames and the roof got damaged. The smoke spread. The staff somehow managed to sneak into the compost room and put out the fire. Since then the machine, which comes loaded with promises of turning precious green waste into valuable compost, has been gathering dust in the community’s parking lot. (For more technical details on these machines, please read this post.) Continue reading

Community composting method-13: Got a tonne of kitchen waste? NeoAkruthi organic digester has the answer

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My own 2013 experiment using earthworms for kitchen waste composting turned out to be such a disaster that I decided to keep it limited only to garden waste. But when Bangalore-based Anil Kumar, MD, Akruthi Enviro Solutions Private Limited, told me that their organic waste digester uses earthworms to process even 500+ kgs of kitchen waste mixed with garden waste per day, I thought I was opening a new chapter in vermi-composting. Continue reading

Into my 5th year of blogging & indebted to your support

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Blogging doesn’t come easily to print media journalists. At least that’s what has been my observation over the years. In my case, it all stemmed from the need to create my own space to write whatever I thought was relevant. “If it is indeed relevant, it will be read,” I told myself when I registered with WordPress. Continue reading

What is 2Bin1Bag & what its colour-coded concept tells us

Actor, model and marathoner, Milind Soman is all for segregation at source. He offered support to spread awareness on the concept through SBI Pinkathon and social media.

Actor, model and marathoner, Milind Soman is all for segregation at source. He offered support to spread awareness on the concept through SBI Pinkathon and social media.

A humble kit with a holistic approach. That’s what this 2Bin1Bag concept is for you.

The effect of this simple and practical concept is already being felt in nearly one lakh homes in Bangalore. With the Karnataka High Court mandating three-tier segregation by weaving this into its landmark verdict on December 17, it’s time for you to understand it more deeply.

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A big win for Bangalore’s green activists at HC; 2Bin1Bag, waste-pickers rule the roost

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(L to R) Ex-cricketer Rahul Dravid joins the 2Bin1Bag campaign, saying, “it makes the job of segregation easy”. This is how full of smiles all the waste-pickers were at Hasiru Dala today.

The Year 2015 couldn’t have ended better!

In what can be termed a holistic and humane judgment, the Karnataka High Court today directed the city of Bangalore to adopt a three-tier, colour-coded segregation and gave the first right to recyclables to waste-pickers. The segregation at source rule applies to all—individual homes, bulk generators, commercial establishments, government offices, Railway, Defence, etc. Continue reading

Community composting method-12: A DIY model, the Brigade Regency style

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My connection with Brigade Regency (BR), an apartment located in Malleswaram, is an organic one. This is where, as a tenant, I started segregating my household waste into six categories. Being one of the very few communities that took the garbage crisis seriously back in 2007-08, it went on to find holistic solutions for all streams of waste before “sustainability” became a much-abused word. Continue reading

A success formula for green volunteers: Get downward management going strong

(From L to R) Green champions of Purva Venezia, Yelahanka New Town: Geetha Karthik, Vinuta Kadakol and Padma Patil. This team of 9 volunteers manages waste coming from 1,000 houses.

(From L to R) Green champions of Purva Venezia, Yelahanka New Town: Geetha Karthik, Vinuta Kadakol and Padma Patil. This team of 9 volunteers manages waste coming from 1,000 houses.

Bangalore, despite the ruckus it witnesses over the garbage problem every day, is the frontrunner in India when it comes to ideating, designing and implementing sustainable solutions. We have a number of communities in Bangalore who have adopted sensible strategies to manage their waste and many more are willing to tread the same path. But, year after year, how come some of these communities clock high levels of segregation, churn out loads of compost and go organic? What is it that they do differently than the rest? Continue reading

Will Minister George’s new 1000-acre landfill quest solve City’s garbage problem?

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Minister for Bangalore Development K J George

Just like the curiosity surrounding the potential whereabouts of the Holy Grail refuses to cease, the Karnataka government’s quest for a new landfill does not quite seem to be coming to an end.

Once again yesterday, Bangalore Development Minister K J George revealed his latest trick of solving the City’s garbage problem based on Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa’s advice: To identify at least 1,000 acres of land for dumping and processing… Further, he stated that this would help “break the politicians-officials-garbage contractors’ nexus”. Continue reading

If crackers are a must for Diwali, why not go for these “70% safe”, eco-friendly ones?

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If you are one of those who feels guilty after firing a rocket filled with toxic pollutants but finds it impossible to say ‘no’ to fireworks at the same time, here’s a safer option: Kaliswari Fireworks from Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, a manufacturer since 1923, has come up with eco-friendly fireworks which are claimed to release drastically low levels of pollutants in the air. Continue reading

Yelahanka Eco Group does fantastic waste management on Ganesha, Bakrid & Dasara; sets a benchmark for Bangalore

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No grandiose statements or placards. No chest-beating. No gaggle of mediapersons or TV cameras trying to devour glimpses of roadside spot clean-ups. Instead, this is what it was: An unprecedented co-ordinated effort by BBMP officials of all rungs and committed volunteers from Yelahanka, North Bangalore, that cleaned up the waste overnight on the last three major festivals—Ganesha, Bakrid and Dasara. They call themselves, Yelahanka Eco Group (YEG).

To put it succinctly, it’s the real Swachh Bharat we have all been dreaming of. In letter and spirit. Continue reading

How to further enrich your compost

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First things first: My first experiment with lab-produced microbes took place in June 2013. And, I am still learning. One lifetime is not enough to unravel the mysteries hidden in a fistful of soil. But meanwhile, I thought of sharing this info with you which helped us transform our eight-acre community garden into completely organic. I am open to inputs, corrections and suggestions on this topic. For all I know, I have been able to merely scratch the surface. Continue reading

Community composting: If it’s costlier & fancier, does it get better?

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One of my Solid Waste Round Table Management (SWMRT) colleagues told me about an apartment which is getting ready to spend up to Rs 45 lakhs on a certain method for its in situ wet waste composting. In other cases, some companies which have succeeded in installing their 24-hour composting machines in some apartments at the cost of up to Rs 20 lakhs or more are laughing all the way to the bank.

Should a residential community invest so much in composting alone? Continue reading

Do you want 90% freedom from landfill? Here’s a model

There are two ways to look at the landfill crisis in Bangalore (or any other city for that matter). Deal with it in the most sustainable manner possible (within the available means) at a personal level. Or, join in the chorus of the multitude which does not want to participate in this change but is ready to pursue erratic paths to pointless ends.

My own community—Sobha Althea-Azalea located in Yelahanka—was a model that ToI celebrated as one of the 15 ideas to emulate in its 2014, August 15th edition. Continue reading

How N S Ramakanth, a noble soul, is trying to save Sankey Tank

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Avarige protective gear kodsi, Swamy… Can you look at the filth they are standing in? There’s lead and mercury in the sludge. They will get all kinds of diseases. Can’t you just get them boots and gloves?”

I heard N S Ramakanth (NSR)—a Bangalore-based environmental activist—say this to a mid-ranking BBMP official on Gandhi Jayanthi evening at Sankey Tank. A never-seen-before, massive clean-up operation was into its fifth day to save whatever that was left of this beautiful water body post Ganesha festival. “Don’t say that, saar! They will stop working,” the official replied. Continue reading

The saga of sanitary waste-2: OF DONKEYS AND ONE WOMAN’S PERIODS

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In the age of sanitary pads and other easier options, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the agony suffered by the women of older generations during periods. One can ascribe any number of religious and cultural significance to the taboos that pushed women into menstrual huts, it goes without saying that they were (still are, in many parts of India) subjected to unspeakable inconvenience, pain and humiliation.

India is a land of narratives. And the narratives built upon the “crimson flow” are many. Although menstruation is a natural, cyclical and biological occurring, the experience varies with each woman. Each one can tell a different story.

Here’s a moving account on a woman’s periods, her “ritual” dips and the donkeys (yes!) as seen from the eyes of a young, innocent boy. Although using cloth pads is now being looked at as sustainable menstruation as it does not leave behind non-biodegradable waste, I thought of including this post in the sanitary waste series for the simple reason that it offers a rare male perspective on a subject that even women hesitate to discuss openly.

Thanks to N JAYARAM for sharing this beautiful blogpost with you all. I am sure you will find yourself immersed in this short story just as I did.

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How I am going organic–1: About some doubts & trust issues

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It’s one thing to talk organic but quite another to suffer sticker shocks when you step inside organic grocery stores.

I thought of writing my own experience after talking to quite a few people. It became clear to me that almost all of them went through the same phase, weighed pros and cons and then made the switch. Not that I have found all the answers surrounding this subject, but through this series, I hope I will be able to put certain common doubts and fears to rest. Continue reading

Community composting method-11: This fantastic DIY at Rainbow Drive is low on cost, high on delivery

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Would you ever believe that all the problems surrounding your wet and garden waste can be solved using steel mesh rings, a few cement slabs and some gunny sacks and also bring out loads of nice-smelling compost?

The answer is a resounding yes!

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Up against ‘PoP culture’, these Bangaloreans make their own clay Ganeshas to drive home a message

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Volunteers from HSR Citizen FORUM learn the art of making clay Ganesha idols at Clay Station in HSR Layout. They are taking this initiative to their communities and encouraging more people, especially children, to go for pure clay idols instead of lead-laden idols made of plaster of Paris.

There may be several religious overtones to Ganesha idol immersion ritual carried out all over India each year. But the one that I find forever appealing is my mother’s philosophical take on it: “What comes from the Earth must go back to it. Immersion means abdication of any material attachment. It’s a means to develop philosophical detachment in life.” Continue reading

Community composting method-10: This steel bins system can work a treat on your terrace

Cassia block of Brigade Millennium in J P Nagar has its own unique steel bins system which has been producing one tonne of compost each month.

Cassia block of Brigade Millennium in J P Nagar has its own unique steel bins system which has been producing one tonne of compost each month.

Bangalore’s roads run like tedious arguments. I had to meander my way around one such ‘argument’ recently by hitting the road at 7 am in Yelahanka to study a community composting method in an apartment located in J P Nagar.

Cassia Block is just like any other nestling in this mammoth condominium called Brigade Millennium. But it stands apart for its high eco quotient nurtured by its all-woman management committee. They have a very good waste and water management system in place and in fact, the residents have stepped out of their threshold, cleaned up a spot just out of their periphery, planted a line of trees and have even set aside some space for vermi-composting right there.

Now, that definitely sets the tone for this write-up, doesn’t it? Continue reading

Soil Recipe-3: This egg extract can boost your plant growth

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Soil Recipes is a useful how-to-do-it manual on soil nutrition and maintenance authored by Goa-based organic farmer ISA ALVARES and published by The Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI). Endlessly Green is happy to republish these recipes.

The recipes, as the author says, have been “vetted and verified by experienced organic farmers” belonging to OFAI. They not only “enable the soil to re-stock its populations of beneficial soil microbes”, but also help “control disease…” Continue reading

Home composting: Replace kitchen waste bin with EcoBin, let Bokashi bloom in your garden

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There is a distinct pride I enjoy whenever I tell our housekeepers, “No kitchen waste today.” And that happens quite often these days.

If all of us were to replace our kitchen waste bin with a composting bin and if all of the commercial establishments did in situ wet waste management, 60-65 per cent of the global garbage problem gets solved in a few days.

If you want to be a part of this change and want a solution to stop your kitchen waste from going to landfills, give EcoBin—an indoor Bokashi composter kit—a try. It’s neat, compact and packs a punch if you have a garden at home. Continue reading