January 31st, 2017
It was back in 2009 that Bengaluru resident Vani Murthy visited a landfill in Mavallipuram to check a small waste management project. The visit had a profound impact on her, and she felt the desperate urge to change the existing waste management system.
A resident of Malleswaram, Bangalore, Vani decided to associate herself with the group in the city that was trying to mobilise Solid Waste Management and bring new methods of waste management in different parts of the city.
The group called Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT) was determined to bring about a change in the existing system and thus began to create awareness across the city to decentralise waste and teach how compost can be created by segregating waste. As most changes start at home, the group began by explaining these concepts to homemakers and showing how small steps can lead to a big change.
The team started to meet every weekend and went from door to door to teach three-way segregation of dry, wet and reject waste.
“We wanted to make people aware that the waste that they generate is their responsibility and not that of the municipality. When we just dump the waste without segregating, it’s a burden on the municipality, as they handle nearly two tonnes of waste every day. They don’t separate the waste, and it is a concern for the environment,” Vani said to The Logical Indian.
Vani herself is also an ardent practitioner of Waste Management. The garden on her rooftop is the result of composting, an initiative she called Swachagraha, launched by SWMRT. It focuses on “compost, grow and cook”. Her garden is full of herbs, fruits and fresh vegetables where everything grows organically without the use of any pesticides.
“It is by composting that we can grow organic food too. We have to make people aware so that they can grow their crops themselves,” she said.
Vani’s composting method has gained much popularity today. She regularly contributes her articles to newspapers, appears to radio and TV shows, to help spread the word further and introduce the idea of composting to more people.
Composting can be done at home — on terraces, gardens or backyards. She says it is not rocket science and is quite easy to practice if we are dedicated to the process.
Talking about the challenges, Vani says, “The biggest challenge we face today is creating awareness. It will take a long time if we have to go from door to door to reach everyone. We should have a strict law and implementation of that law for waste segregation. We should levy fines on people who are not separating their waste. It is damaging the environment, and we should take this issue seriously because it is our constitutional obligation to take care of it.”
We should all join hands in ensuring we do not overburden our landfills and in turn, the environment. With small steps like composting, we can reduce our contribution to the landfills.
The Logical Indian appreciates Vani and her team for starting this movement. We urge more people to work towards waste reduction across the country.