For years, overflowing garbage dumps and landfills have added to the woes of residents across the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. But one major responsibility for the growing health risks this waste problem poses is also the lack of responsibility of its own residents, who do not take waste segregation seriously.
But, one organisation together with over 40 communities and over 4,000 households, is striving to make Coimbatore a city without dumpsites by reducing the humongous volume of garbage.
Just at the cost of Rs 100 per month per household, a 2016 registered trust dedicated to the Swachh Bharat Mission, called ‘No Dumping’ is helping communities and citizens dispose their waste in a responsible way.
They are hand-holding the residents end-to-end – waste generation to waste management.
Under the community-driven joint initiative run by a team of passionate young green entrepreneurs and volunteers, and supported by the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC), every household adopts four core practices. These are imparted to them by No Dumping through its Habit Orientation Workshops (HOW), aimed at bringing about a paradigm shift in their age-old habits of dumping mixed waste.
The four golden rules therefore are:
(Every household uses the two-bin one-bag system including one red bin, one green bin and a white bag.)
Rule 1: Each home follows the discipline of wrapping all its unhygienic, sanitary (diapers, sanitary pads, earbuds, etc) & bio-medical waste in a newspaper, marking it with a red cross (X) and putting it in the RED BIN.
Rule 2: All the inorganic waste is to be kept in a dry condition to avoid odor and fly menace. All broken glass bottles are also wrapped in newspaper. Also, they have to rinse and dry all plastic food packaging ( wrappers, packets, cartons, bottles & carry bags ) and put them in the WHITE BAG.
Rule 3: All the organic waste or wet waste like vegetable and fruit peels, seeds, food waste, etc. is segregated in the GREEN BIN without using any plastic bags or bin liners.
Rule 4: So these, two bins & one bag are kept separate and handed over daily to the housekeeping staff that arrives at their doorstep at 9 AM every day.
These housekeeping staff use customized pushcarts with separate provisions for wet, dry and sanitary waste and places them at a designated collection point in the apartment complex.
After this, Truck Taxi (No Dumping’s transportation partner) sends separate trucks for wet and dry waste to apartments daily at an appointed time. The housekeeping staff then unload the waste bins and bags into the respective vehicle’s container.
While all the raw organic wet waste is sent for vermicomposting, bio-composting and to produce biogas to fuel a crematorium, No Dumping also gives its wet waste directly to marginal farmers for mulching and manurial purposes.
All dry waste is sent to its Material Recovery Facilities in Vellalore and Kavundampalayam for another level of segregation. Recyclable raw materials are then sent to recyclers and processors to manufacture new products.
Inorganic, non-recyclable and combustible waste is sent to the ACC cement factory to be used as Alternative Fuel Resource (AFR) by burning them at high temperatures, to avoid too much pollution.
Rajalakshmi NR, a volunteer for No Dumping, says, “Sanitary waste goes to the landfill at the moment, but efforts are on to incinerate them to bring down the harmful effect on the environment. No Dumping is looking for sponsors to get more incinerators to deal with sanitary waste and a tipper, as they now have only one given by the Corporation.”
Today, many apartment complexes and even college campuses are joining hands with the No Dumping to tackle Coimbatore’s waste problem. The model’s effectiveness reflects in how INS Agrani too installed an organic waste converter machine in their campus after getting in touch with them to manage their waste responsibly. No Dumping also extends its waste collection, segregation, and management services to the Airports Authority of India, Coimbatore.
Rs 100 per household per month is not too much to ask if it helps you take one step forward to limit the growing volume of garbage in your own city in the long run, right?