Inspired by her childhood memories that were spent watching lots of greenery in the Adilabad and Paderu areas, Zonal Commissioner (West Zone) of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Chandana Dasari is spearheading a ‘green’ revolution of a different kind in Hyderabad through various plastic recycling initiatives across the city.
“As a person born and brought up in Hyderabad, I never thought much about where our waste is going. However, when I visited our dumping yard at Jawaharnagar, I realised the humongous amount of waste that the city generates. That’s when I started thinking about ways to reduce waste from reaching dumping yards and thus, reduce pollution in the city,” says Chandana.
Waste management in India has long been a disputed topic with questions often being raised about the efficiency of the government to the social responsibility of corporations. But Chandana has changed the mindset of many with her green initiatives.
“It’s our duty to strive for city cleanliness. Waste reclamation and treatment is also a part of it. However, as a citizen of Hyderabad who has spent her entire life here, I would love to see my city transformed into a sustainable futuristic city,” says Chandana, whose numerous recycling initiatives are changing the face of Hyderabad.
Right from installing upcycled furniture made from unused tyres and old oil drums at over 120 parks in the city, Hyderabad is witnessing a remarkable change. “Hyderabad and Hyderabadis are very passionate about green causes and everyone wants to do something good. They are looking for opportunities and directions to do so. They have readily embraced all the recyclable work we have done,” says Chandana on a positive note, adding, “We are gearing up for a massive plastic collection drive by June 5.”
Talking about challenges and funding of the initiatives, she says, “Convincing people and making them understand the importance of green efforts and recycling is the hardest. However, I was able to successfully bring CSR companies to sponsor a lot of recyclable initiatives. For instance, NTPC is funding recyclable bus shelters, HAL is sponsoring a wet waste recycling plant while Biological E has sponsored recycled bottle shelters and sculptures.”
“We have also launched a water leadership and conservation alliance in partnership with HMWSSB to promote water conservation leaders. Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Capgemini, Raheja and Cybertowers are just some of the partners with us in this alliance,” says the eco-warrior, who is passionately invested in numerous recycling initiatives under her jurisdiction.
Of course, the life of an IAS officer is filled with challenges not just on the professional front but also on the personal front. Admitting that she has a very hectic schedule, Chandana says, “It’s tough to manage. But my husband is a civil servant too and he understands the pressures of my job. We do a lot of adjustments in managing our child. We adjust our timings to be with our daughter.”
Hearteningly, Chandana not only preaches but also practices what she advocates — 100 percent of garbage at her house is routed for composting - and she has in fact, installed a compact biogas unit at her place. “The city's greenery has come down. We need to be personally conscious for society to have a sustainable future. My mother is a passionate garden enthusiast too,” she adds.