Before I bombard you with the banalities of waste management like data and facts, have a good look at your city

Mumbai

Delhi

Bangalore

Chennai

Hyderabad

and Kolkata is not exactly swaying in the cradle of cleanliness either.

You crunch up your nose while passing by a mountain of garbage. Surprisingly, many of us dump our plastic bags that are bursting at the seams on that very mountainous pile. Why? Another plastic ball in an ocean of plastic balls is harmless. The best cop out – who cares?

You are reading articles in the leading dailies/magazines, and online platforms on Solid Waste Management (SWM), garbage disposal, organizations that are taking up the cudgels for cleaner surroundings, environment-friendly packaging, abysmal garbage management condition of megacities, and a Good Samaritan who is cleaning the dirty beaches or rivers.

Our feeds are rife with such stories. But again, double tap, share, scroll down… Oh! Cat pictures!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not belittling you. It is a “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones’ situation for me. Consciously, unconsciously we all litter. Even I do.

However, we also leave no stone unturned in cleaning our surroundings. Happy volunteers! We educate our children and domestic help on the importance of sanitation and hygiene. We write blogs to spread awareness hoping our words will make a difference.

I know a few people (no boast but including me) who have ditched plastic shampoo bottles and switched to shampoo bars; there is a plethora of Instagram-run organic/homemade products businesses that are developing healthy and safe beauty products.  Then there is Narayana Peesapati, a former scientist at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad whose company Bakey’s Food Pvt. Ltd. makes edible cutlery. The spoons and chopsticks that are made using ingredients like rice, wheat, carom seeds, black pepper, and jowar can be eaten after use. (Forget about your storage troubles now. No water woes too.)

It is not always rain and thunder. Our leading dailies newspapers/magazines also laud those who trigger, champion, and espouse the methods that can help in making our planet a better place.

The Rain and The Rainbow

India is not an epitome of cleanliness. The increasing quantities of industrial effluents, biomedical waste, hazardous waste, electronic waste, and plastic waste are a clarion call to the all of us.

Time for saddening but true-blue statistics!

According to a study published in the journal The Royal Society (Open Science), India generates approximately 133,760 tonnes of MSW per day, of which approximately 91,152 tonnes is collected and 25,884 tonnes is treated. MSW generation per capita in India ranges from approximately 0.17 kg per person per day in small towns to 0.62 kg per person per day in the cities.

Source – Central Pollution Control Board, Govt. of India, 2012

The objective of the blog is to neither berate you nor take you on a guilt trip. These eye-popping facts and prevailing scenarios aim at accenting even the small-scale efforts that people of different vocations make to collect garbage. Even if it is just about collection, it matters because it is the very first step in waste management.

Real estate builders and developers –Ahad Builders work their fingers to the bone to provide a clean and hygienic environment to their customers. They fully understand and follow the concept of Waste Sorting/Segregation.

Ahad Builders are slowly inching toward the ‘pioneers in waste management’ tag by successfully employing the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. Their peerless projects (Ahad Euphoria, Ahad Opus, Ahad Excellencia, Ahad Meadows, and Ahad City) have well-defined and well-stated provisions to separately collect dry and wet waste.

Outside their one-off residential buildings, you will spot spacious bins that are appropriately marked for the residents to sort their domestic waste in. Categories include plastic, glass, cardboard, and paper.

Their management team is unerring, for it makes sure that the bins don’t overflow and the garbage is collected by the concerned authorities without fail. You will see only flora flourish in their surroundings, not the trash!

It could be said beyond the shadow of a doubt that what Ahad Builders do is not novel. You will find bins for different wastes almost everywhere nowadays. I won’t contest the point. But riddle me this – how often do you come across bins that are clean and maintained? How often do you see styrofoam cups/plates or Cola canes inside the bin? Seldom because the bin is usually vomiting the trash.

We laud those who pick somebody else’s trash and dump it in the bin. Why can’t we laud those who are working toward maintaining and sustaining clean surroundings, even if their work is not standing out? It is easy to wash your hands off when the work that’s accepted of you is delivered in-time and honest manner. But Ahad Builders believe in pushing the envelope.

Even if your efforts are just a drop in the ocean, they are important. Ahad Builders know that the first step in waste management  i.e., collection and segregation, can make the entire process efficient. Pioneers have their thoughts and actions in harmony.

Cumulative land required (km2) for the disposal of SW.  Source –  Singhal and Pandey

Landfills, composting, combustion, recovery and recycling methods of waste disposal will work only if we know our garbage. We might understand the work of ragpickers and junkdealers but if somebody asks us to do their work, we will scrunch up our noses (again). We can make their work easy by doing ours whole-heartedly and efficiently.

Many cities are genuinely working toward cleanliness under the Swachh Bharat Mission. If we drop our professional labels and work together as citizens, the images you saw in the beginning will become pleasing and beautiful to look at. Our efforts won’t go down the tubes. That will be a testament to our togetherness and wisdom.