Waste management is one of the most pressing issues in India currently. With campaigns such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan gathering a lot of steam, it's important to remember that waste, as with any issue, begins at home.
Segregation at the household level has long been considered one of the biggest contributors to a more effective waste cycle. To lend some context, Pune generates 1,678 MT (megatonnes) of waste daily, from an approximate population of 50,00,000 people. Out of this, as the graphic above suggests, only 873 MT is segregated to wet (393 MT) and dry (480 MT). Nearly 50% of waste remains unsegregated and sent to the ever-growing landfills.
Housing societies are good opportunities for household segregation and waste disposal to be done right, given their organised nature. Quite possibly one of the largest (and wealthiest) housing societies in Pune - Sindh Society in Aundh - with over 350 bungalows generates a considerable amount of waste every day. ProEarth Ecosystems stepped in to help them put into place systems for waste segregation and disposal so that they can mitigate their footprint.
ProEarth Ecosystems studied the society and devised the following steps, leveraging the 2bin1bag approach:
If followed correctly, the residents of Sindh Society, as well as anyone who's interested, can learn exactly how much waste they generate as a community. This data helps the viewer understand the macro-behaviour of the society, and could potentially inform behaviour changes in the future.
Furthermore, this information can be used to identify and develop waste disposal strategies, so that the waste generated by the residents can be put to best use. For example, the surplus compost can be handed over to farmers who could use the carbon-rich material as fertiliser for their crops.
The following cards depict the amount of waste generated by Sindh Society in the month of September, 2017.
As is evident, the numbers are astounding. In a month, nearly 21 tonnes of waste was collected. Roughly the weight of 4 elephants 🐘🐘🐘🐘 ! Or about 10% of a two-storey bungalow -- which means by June next year, the waste generated by Sindh Society will be as heavy as one of its own houses.
Additionally, ProEarth also collects the garden waste as generated in the society that is shredded and bagged on site.
The shredded garden waste is also used as compost.
ProEarth intends to work harder to maintain this project and continue to collect data so that Sindh Society's waste issue can be better understood. With time, the hope is to take Sindh Society to zero-waste, or at least to a point where the waste generated is effectively used in the best way possible.
A project like this does well to demonstrate two things:
1. Issues begin at home. We can all stand to behave more responsibly with our waste, and ideally, more mindful in our consumption.
2. We're part of something larger. One individual or family's habits may not seem significant, but it all adds up.
To learn more about ProEarth and how this project came into being, please write in at firstname.lastname@example.org
ProEarth Ecosystems is a social enterprise that develops systems for sustainable living.
Banner Illustration by Aparajita Ninan
Data Visualisation by Reach