HYDERABAD: Morning walkers at Gandipet decided to take things into their own hands when they could not bear the stench of the rotten garbage. With an initial investment of Rs 16 lakh, a waste processing unit, which stresses on segregation, was built by the representatives of seven-gated communities. Now the area produces 3 tonnes of compost which is distributed among the communities and farms houses.
Rajashree Pinnamaneni, one of the founding members of the Gandipet Welfare Society, said, “Before we began the unit, we spent about a year and a half educating gated communities and residents of Gandipet village. We also went to the nearby shops to educate them about segregation of waste.” The popular rythu bazaar at Gandipet is also plastic-free as volunteers keep a tab on vendors on using plastic bags. Renuka Reddy, a resident of Legend Chimes, said, “It is surprising to note that most vendors stopped using plastic bags as we told them. Our sarpanch also gave cloth bags in the village which has over 700 families. Now, we ask the villagers to stitch their own bags out of old sarees.”
Moreover, women of Gandipet have began stitching cloth bags and making leaf plates.
Rajashree Pinnamaneni, added, “It has led to women empowerment as more than 750 households purchase these items.” “It also shows that the villagers have understood the seriousness of waste management,” Rajashree Pinnamaneni added. Aravind Reddy, a resident, said, “With the festival, a lot of plastic kites and manja thread were found in the area. There are also many broken bottles.”
The Gandipet Welfare Association shifted the kite-flying from their area and also ensured that they put bins across the village. The residents said that it is harder to get the educated on board as they claim that they are paying the Swachh Bharat tax. Lavanya Meda, a resident, said, “We collect about Rs 300 from each house in every gated community. “This way, we ensure that the villagers in Gandipet do not have to pay a penny.” The excess money is used for plantations across the village.
Stigma on waste needs to stop:
The stigma around waste should end, said members of the Gandipet Welfare Association. With Rs 65,000, each gated community could have two barrels which can compost 3,000 kg wet waste. Sangeeta Kulkarni said, “If waste is composed there is no issue of smell or unhygienic results. We have asked the collector to make it mandatory for gated communities to have an in-house compost pit.”
The welfare body ensured that waste which is not segregated, is not picked up, which led to a change. Lavanya Meda said, “All you have to do is segregate the waste. When wet and dry waste is mixed, it becomes useless.” The successful running of the unit has led to seven more villages showing interest in waste management. The residents said that the Narsingi dumpyard is on its way to becoming another Jawhar dump yard. There are heaps of garbage and harmful leachate, affecting the groundwater.