By Nandhini Sriraaman
My journey in Waste Management began as a volunteer in the apartment community that I live in. The result of implementation of segregation was measurable and the impact that we, as a team, could make was phenomenal and motivated me to continue on the path. Working on implementation of plastic ban at ward level widened my understanding on the environmental impact of plastic. So, while volunteering at Puttenahalli lake, I was a naturally interested to explore ways and means to control plastic littering in the lake area. We started interacting with Saahas, an NGO working in the field of waste management. The areas covered by them include the lake, the houses adjoining the lake (slum), Nataraja layout and Lakshmi layout that are immediate neighbours to the lake and main contributors to the waste in the lake area.
The project started in April 2018 with the Saahas team consisting of an experienced supervisor and the waste collector, going around to educate the residents of 850 houses and 20 shops on problems faced due to littering and benefits of three-way segregation (2 bins 1 bag). They have distributed the bags for storing segregated dry waste at their respective houses to be handed over for collection. A battery operated vehicle is used to collect Dry waste from all these areas once a week – Thursday (Slum area), Friday (Nataraja Layout) and Saturday (Lakshmi Layout). The collected dry waste is further segregated in the vehicle and sent to the Puttenahalli Dry Waste Collection Centre for recycling.
Most of the houses had been facing a problem of irregular pick-up and hence, were willing to co-operate, except Lakshmi Layout that needs to be addressed again. On an average 300 – 350 kgs of dry waste are collected on a weekly basis. The volume measurement gives us a sense of satisfaction of saving the lake from the plastic menace and appropriate disposal of the same for recycling. The visual impact of this project would take some more time as the project settles down and builds confidence in the stakeholders.
The plan is to increase coverage to around 1000 houses in the coming weeks. Also, there is a plan to process wet waste generated from the houses in the slum adjoining the lake. With further improvement, it is expected to reduce the garbage accumulation in the south east and north east corners of the lake as well as on the revetment slopes of the lake. A clean-up drive to take care of the corners where waste is accumulated would also be planned in the coming weeks to provide a positive visual upliftment. This would go a long way to encourage not only the participants in this Puttenahalli Lake waste management drive but also prevent others from littering the lake premises.
From the Diaries – The writer is a Core Volunteer at PNLIT