“Zero Waste” Drive in Gail Vihar, Noida

Gail Vihar Township in Sector 23 Noida in its recently initiated drive of “Waste Segregation & Zero Waste Generation” has started segregating waste at home and also has started disposing segregated wastes separately so that wastes can be reused, recycled and thus can be reduced to zero with gradual efforts. The biodegradable wastes are being treated for producing composts in composting machine installed by GAIL and the non-biodegradable wastes are being again disposed in two different coloured dustbins so as to keep recyclable wastes separate from non-recyclable wastes so that the recyclable wastes can be handed over hygienically and safely to agencies dealing with it to produce other utility items. Thus, only very few non-recyclable wastes will account for the waste that is to be dumped in Landfill whose presence itself is being questioned. With continuous efforts, motivation and determination Gail Vihar is going to place itself among ZERO WASTE generating societies hopefully very soon.

I would like to share my experience during my journey in this drive. I hope this will be helpful to those dedicated people who are working hard for an eco-friendly environment for our children and generations next to come. “Waste Segregation” was a new term for me till July 2017 when luckily, I got a chance to attend a workshop on it by HARA JEEVAN through an awareness programme on SWACHHTA organised by GAIL in Gail Vihar. However, till then I was keenly interested in the cleanliness drive that was active in full swing throughout India. I came across many people who were well concerned, well aware about Indian current scenario with respect to cleanliness. Disheartening to say that everyone aspires for infrastructural facilities as well as strong administration to fix these sensitive issues and prefer to wait for the strategic Govt policies, programmes which were again falling prey to bureaucratic loopholes and diplomacy. In June 2017, on my way back to home from a family trip to Singapore I was just comparing the artificial and structural beauties of Singapore with the natural beauties of different world famous tourist places of India. India’s rich cultural heritages attract millions and millions of tourists to our country every year. But soon these images for which I felt proud to be an Indian got vanished as soon as I came across ugly, unorganised, swampy garbage dumps here and there throughout Delhi and Noida streets. I felt ashamed of our system of waste management. The images of unhealthy sanitation facilities at different tourist places added more depressive shades to my sentiment. After few days that Gazipur dumping site tragedy and the unfortunate deaths of some sewage workers while cleaning sewages had shaken me totally from inside. While going through the pollution charts daily I also started wondering about our children future and generations next to come. What’s in store for them and what legacy are we providing them.

One day while passing through the garbage dumping shed of our locality I found two men sorting garbage with bare hands and without protective gloves or face masks only to collect some recyclable items that can bring them a little earning after being sold. One could easily experience the unbearable stink arising from the site. I was wondering how these people were working day in and out in such an unhygienic environment. Just for a little earning these two people have to risk their lives while dealing with the wastes we had disposed in a reckless manner. My conscious started the blame game with onus on my shoulders and obviously on peers for creating such unhygienic process and hazardous dumping site which environmental threat to the living world are. I was just wondering as to how I can help these workers dealing with garbage and how I can contribute to rectify this uncivilised process of dumping garbage when HARAJEEVAN’s workshop on “waste segregation at Home “ gave a new direction to my thought. I could visualise that every problem has a solution at its source only. Segregation at its source is an amazing solution to all of the mess of stinky garbage dumped in streets as well as landfills in India.

The very first baby step was to form a group of dedicated volunteers. This followed with brain storming sessions related to ideas regarding the modus operandi. And then it started shaping. The Strategies formulated were: 1) Prepare 3 separate lists of waste namely Bio Degradable , Recyclable & Non –Recyclable that are usually being disposed from our homes. 2) Spread awareness among residents and motivate to initiate 3 Bin or 2 Bin 1 Bag concepts for disposal of waste. Reduction of the plastic consumption is the key which needs to be promoted. Tool/ Aids used: flex board, banner, posters, digital display board, through mobile, messages, videos, door to door campaigns, counselling. 3) Conduct workshops with domestic helps, housekeeping staff and maintenance department. 4)Segregated and the biodegradable waste was decided to be disposed through garbage ducts, where garbage was thrown earlier. Two different coloured dustbins are to be placed in each floor of Buildings for disposal of recyclable dry wastes and non-recyclable wastes separately. 5)A composting Machine was to be installed to treat Biological wastes and for recyclable and e-wastes agencies dealing with these wastes were to be approached. Donation Boxes were to be placed to collect materials that were reusable and can be donated.

With every support from GAIL & HARAJEEVAN we could finally reach at the verge of success. Of course the project is yet to be streamlined. To change the old bad habit of disposing garbage in a reckless manner without giving it a single thought was the major hurdle in this process. The Garbage Ducts are still to be made free of polyethene and plastics .However with frequent requests, instructions and Guidance Gail Vihar has started producing composts from the food residues. Thus the left over foods that we cannot eat nor can we feed any other living being now can be returned to the Mother Earth in the form of soil that can rather be called BLACK GOLD. The garbage collector is also happy to find that he is not going to be indulged any more in sorting out recyclable items from the stinky garbage mixed with bio degradable wastes and takes away recyclable items in a safe manner. I wish each and every apartment /society should realise its role in waste management of its own locality and should come forward to make their respective society a zero waste generating society .Then our country will just be a step away from other developed countries along with Singapore in the “Swachhta Mission “.