Garbage: Our Unique Wealth

Today’s episode of Satyamev Jayate was on garbage management. It’s true that looking at India, a natural question arises − ‘Do Indians instinctively lack sense of cleanliness?’ Our public places, religious places, roadsides, pavements are shamelessly teeming with garbage of all kinds. No one seems to bother as if it is the most natural thing to happen. Passages to the places of worship often stink. People mindlessly keep moving.

Whenever our filmmakers need a clean, beautiful expanse to be shown in their movies, they rush to exotic locations abroad. It’s not that our country doesn’t have beautiful spots. But garbage is spilling over in this country. Our big cities have hills as high as 100 feet high made purely of pure garbage. Ironical? Tragic? Unbelievable? You choose your word! Acres of land is used as dumping ground. India approximately produces 16 crore tons of garbage every day. Poisonous gases, diseases, stench − all these things are emanating from this garbage. Mumbai Municipal Corporation spends around two thousand, three hundred crores annually for getting the garbage lifted to dumping grounds. Life around these dumping lands is absolutely hell. Air, water, land − everything is getting destroyed. Life is terrible for those who live near these places.

Rishi Agrawal, a waste management expert said that there is a nexus between politicians and officers. They have smelt big money in municipal corporations. The tax payer’s money is given to contractors who use public land for dumping garbage and are paid for it. They do nothing to reprocess the garbage. If the matter is properly investigated many of them would land up in jail. Te people of India are also responsible for this mess. We are a nation of indifferent people. We just don’t care. After paying the tax, we don’t bother as to where the money is going. People loot us because we are ready to be looted. As the saying goes, ‘If you’re ready to be befooled, you’ll always find someone for the job’. So the Indian public is sleeping.

It’s possible to make India garbage-free. The mantra is ‘reduce, re-use, and re-cycle’. Garbage is basically of two types − bio-degradable and non-biodegradable. Every home, every restaurant, every office, every marriage hall, just everyone must keep the two types separately. Herein lies the key to get rid of the garbage menace. Our garbage can easily be turned into wealth. In 2003, Dr. S. R. Maley and Mr. Birju cleared one hectare of dump and made is soil by sanitizing and putting good bacteria to use. Just as good bacteria turn milk into curd, garbage can is made excellent compost in the same manner. It’s a win-win situation for all. We can turn 45 thousand acres of barren land into fertile land if we use our garbage properly.

Dr. Sharad Kale of BARC has developed a unique technique with which we can reprocess the waste. There’s nothing like waste in the system of Nature. Everything must go back to Nature. With India’s garbage, two lakh gas cylinders can be produced daily. Mr. Nuriel runs a plant which reprocesses waste. But he had a strange thing to say. Even when he’s ready to take away waste from municipalities without charging anything, he’s being told that they don’t have waste! The garbage has been contracted to be lifted!

In our zest to follow west blindly, we’re putting up incineration units. Incineration might work in west; it’s not the answer to our problems. Again, people living near these units suffer from breathing problems, cough, itching and even cancer. Ravi Agrawal, Director, Toxic Link said that incineration doesn’t fit in our scheme of things simply because our garbage is largely bio-degradable. Our garbage is our unique wealth. We cannot afford to produce dioxin at such a high scale. We will actually be destroying priceless natural resources. Our coming generation will suffer.

Aamir told the viewers that he had invited eight municipal commissioners of metropolitan cities but seven of them chose not to reply and one declined to come. Aamir also highlighted the problems of rag pickers. Laxmi runs ‘SWAKCHH’ campaign in Pune for rag pickers. Saru bai, formerly a rag picker, now runs a compost plant. Warangal in Telangana is a garbage-free city because one IAS officer, Vivek Yadav started the mission and people co-operated. Janardan Reddy, another IAS officer is the Director of 182 municipalities. The garbage in these areas is recycled and reused. Srinivasan in Vellore has employed cows, ducks, frogs and hen for recycling. The animals work round the clock, don’t ask for pay hikes and works efficiently and fast. Srinivasan said that his method can clear the whole garbage of Mumbai in 18 months! In fact, garbage is not to be carried to other places. There should be garbage collection center every two kilometers. Decentralization of treatment is the key. Prof. Vasudevan of Maurai has developed a technique with which we can use plastic in building roads.

The fight against dump garbage begins with the individual − you and me. Miss Patel, the cleanliness missionary filed a PIL in the Supreme Court in 1996. Now we have solid waste management guidelines, thanks to her. Managing garbage is an uphill task. It’s something which affects all of us, our daily lives, our image as a nation, our health and future. And the best part is that it can be done.


More by :  Prof. Shubha Tiwari

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Views: 3365      Comments: 4

Comment The population is not the problem, the attitude of the people is the problem.Making people aware is important, but more important is that this awareness is converted to actions.Cleanliness is not only the responsibility of the 'safaai kaamgar', it is the responsibility of 125 crore Indians. If Indians can reach Mars at a cheap cost, can we not clean our neighbourhoods and and save the money paid to the safaai karmacharis for a more better cause ?"
Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo ? and do the same as you enter the India's ground...

Pallavi Agrawal
21-Feb-2015 23:27 PM

Comment If Indias population is large then so is the workforce.

So long as there is balance between the workforce and the population the problem of large population limits to arranging liveable place and arranging enough food.

The garbage problem is not due to large population, but because there is no focus from governments (municipality, state and center). Like most of the other issues, the problem directly points to the (mis)governance.

And Mr. Amir Khan often confuses the masses just by elaborating problem more and more without pointing to the real root causes (mis governance).

By the way, New York city generates twice amount of garbage as Mumbai does, HOW DO THEY MANAGE ? Is it the population that is cause of the problem ?

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
20-Mar-2014 02:58 AM

Comment I fully agree with the opinion of Meenakshi. As long as the population is not controlled and their indiscipline is checked and punished none can change India. India, in fact, needs a strong minded, but self less dictator. Indian democracy is nothing but chaos. We have the ways and means but we are not ready to exercise or utilize means what?

17-Mar-2014 10:15 AM

Comment Madam, you write in a positive spirit, supporting the cause raised in the program, Satyamev Jayate. But let me say, in this episode at least Aamir should have hinted at the unmanagable, bulging, endless population of India. All efforts, steps, planning will fall short if people don't realize that we have to have limited number of people. Politicians don't talk about it. They've to garner votes. I'm not saying that force should be used for the purpose; but people need to be reminded of reality. Garbage is one issue directly related to population.

16-Mar-2014 11:16 AM

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