From Dumpster Woes to Million Dollars

As I chucked my garbage from the balcony trying to aim at the neighbor’s rose garden, some nosy fellow caught me in the act and yelled at me and I yelled right back ! I knew my rights. We are a democratic country, aren’t we ? which gives us freedom to do a variety of things including the freedom to spit, pee and dump wherever we want to. The only thing we aren’t allowed to do is to talk about some ‘bandhs’ on Facebook. Now that was okay, why would anybody talk about bandhs in the first place, they are free holidays after all, wherein the state/nation puts in a concerted effort towards establishing the right environment conducive to familial bonding. And if somebody who’s slightly not right in the head, does have something against free holidays, they are not supposed to talk about it on Facebook. And if somebody does it, then don’t be a blighted chap and go ‘like’ it. Coz’ if you do, old chap , you will be escorted at express speed to the state prison and would miss all chances of reading my wonderful post.

Trash House (c) themoonstone.wordpress.com
Trash House (c) themoonstone.wordpress.com

So coming back to the ‘freedom to dump’ topic , all of us in Namma Bengaluru were going about our daily business, dumping where we wanted and suddenly these village folks who don’t understand the democracy concept raised a big hue and cry.As one of the decent blokes put it, if we urban folks were not inconvenienced then we were okay.Some sacrifices had to be made for the greater good.Now we didn’t ask them to stay where we were dumping our stuff, did we ?
Anyways, those village folks stirred up a hornet’s nest, and then we poor folks had to resort to a lot of desperate means.
We dumped it on the roads ! There, now who could complain that we didn’t care.But no, again some folks had a problem with that, saying it was stinking and all. There were rats and mosquitoes they complained.Ho ! Mosquitoes ! Only weak kneed ninnies are bothered about them, you could always spray some of those mosquito killing stuff available in the market, couldn’t you ? But no, they created a big fuss about one foreign sounding one. And rats, how can they cause a problem, they are divine intervention. But anyway we let bygones be bygones and then one bright chap suggested that we use a heritage site where some of these arty types were planning to have some kind of cultural hub. They screamed blue murder.Okay then, we put forth a very reasonable suggestion which said, lets live in harmony, you have your cultural thing and we have our dumping yard right next door and while we guys dump, we could even look in to see how you guys were sculpting,looking arty or whatever it is that you do.But they would have none of it.

Now, we have decided to dump it under the flyovers. That was an awesome suggestion ! We can soon claim to drive over the worlds biggest trash dumps. That will surely get us on the Guinness Book with people flocking to know how we did it.I am sure it will just be a question of time and we will be able to build a whole city over rotten stinking garbage.Elections will be won or lost depending on who can think up the most innovating dumping sites ! Some brilliant ideas which depict untapped potential are unoccupied flats, balconies, terraces,gardens, football grounds,pavements, stadiums – we can play cricket on dump pitch ! Even bald people wont be safe, as somebody could ask – Err,if you don’t mind, can I dump this on your head ?
We, as human beings will of course, evolve just as we have evolved over so many years, as we will use our nose exclusively to breath and the olfactory receptors would soon become a vestigial organ.

Now I am going to let you in on this brilliant idea I had the other day, as most of my ideas invariably are, the ‘Eureka’ moment as we call it, which I foresee in all possibility to be the business idea of the century.
Once, all the dumping sites are exhausted and all balconies and terraces are filled up, all roads lead to dump yards and all rivers and seas have nice multicolored plastic bobbing in them, then what next ? And that is where my idea comes in. We will build a dump yard in the Moon ! Yes, the Moon , our very own moon which we see shining brightly ! Every country could mark out their dump yard spaces. There would be dedicated moon dumpsters which would take the trash to the moon.
Hopefully, that should last us for at least couple of years, and then we can expand to other planets as well.
Wow, even I am amazed that I could think up “the big picture”. So, I am off to patent my idea and to post an ad in the newspaper which would go something like this – If you wanted a dedicated space up there, this is your last chance to send in your dollar to me.

Time to come clean!

The waste management mess in Bangalore was a story waiting to happen. It is also bound to happen in most of the overcrowded cities today. While we can, in all righteous indignation, cite the BBMP for the mess, the responsibility of the citizens cannot be overlooked.The surrounding villages which are being used as landfills suffer grave health consequences. It’s surprising, in fact, that they took so long to protest.While the government is roping in experts to find efficient solutions to the problem, we , as citizens need to do what we can before it’s too late.

Dry Waste
ITC does a lot of useful work in collecting the dry waste. If you live in an apartment and can rope in people to segregate, then ITC will collect the waste from you.You would need to contact the local ITC contractor who collects from your area. Now, dry waste collection centers have come up in various parts of Bangalore, where you could go and give away your dry waste.

We started the waste segregation in our complex almost two years ago. We segregate the waste into paper, plastic, glass items and e-waste.

What goes into Paper?

All Scraps of paper/cardboard
Paper wrappers
Credit card slips/ bills etc.
Tickets
Tissue Paper
All boxes or cartons of toothpaste, soap covers, shaving creams etc.
Used paper plates (after cleaning)
Paper cups

What goes into plastic?

All grades of plastic/metal
Polythene bags
Plastic covering of groceries (Rice Packets, Atta packets etc.)
Milk Covers (Washed & Dried)
Shiny Biscuit wrappers (These are foil)
Used Medicine Foils
Broken plastic toys (Please remove rubber parts)
Aluminum foils
Deodorant cans
Beer cans
Bottle caps (plastic/metal)
Empty toothpaste tubes
Empty plastic bottles of Coca Cola etc.

When in doubt, try to tear. Any material which you cant tear with your hand has a plastic component in it and so has to go into plastic.

We can also segregate Glass items and e-waste.

While we learn to segregate properly, it is equally important to educate the domestic help on the same. We need to ensure that we clean out any remaining food properly before putting it in the dry waste bags. Rule of the thumb is that nothing should smell.
Once we build it into our routine, it involves no extra effort. I was amazed at the amount of dry waste I generated month on month.

Wet Waste

Wet waste or kitchen waste can be composted. Composting pots are easily available now at Daily Dump outlets (http://www.dailydump.org/)
All kind of pots including the ones which enable composting in a balcony are now available.
We always associate composting with stink, but I realized that there’s hardly any smell if you do it right.
All my kitchen waste now goes to the composting pots and after a month or so, will be ready for use in my garden.

For composting techniques read the following useful links :

http://www.dailydump.org/composting
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/compost/process.cfm
http://www.compostinstructions.com/
 
 
 
 
 
 
For a beginner, the following points will be helpful :

1.You could substitute semi done compost instead of dry leaves for faster composting. You could buy a bag of compost at your nearest nursery or from Daily Dump.
2.Sprinkle some turmeric powder once a week to keep out bugs.
3.Keep your compost on the drier side to avoid any smell
4.Keep the pot in a plate of water to avoid any bug moving in or out.
5.Start with only vegetable waste to begin with. Experiment with leftover food, gravies etc. once you get more comfortable.
6.Stir everyday if possible. This is extremely important to prevent putrification and keep any smell at bay.

Above all, you have to be comfortable with the concept of composting first and be prepared to tackle any problems that occur.

At the end of the day, it involves a bit of effort but imagine the satisfaction of not contributing to garbage / landfills or being responsible for inflicting diseases on people, who are not as fortunate to be insulated from garbage.

Image Courtsey: http://www.dailydump.org