It matters where the bhutta goes

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As I stood by a bus-stop relishing a sweet and masaledar bhutta (roasted sweet (golden) corn garnished with salt, lemon and red chili powder) with my aunt on my way back home from South Mumbai, I diligently tossed the leftovers in a dust bin elevated to just about 5 ft. from ground-level, where I couldn’t see what’s inside without a peek.

A fraction of a minute later, I noticed there was a pair of dustbins side-by-side and I had tossed the corn in one of them without realizing each one accepted different kinds of waste: dry and wet. ‘Oops! I put the corn in the dry waste bin!‘, I exclaimed.

Here’s how they look:

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Both the bins should have been color coded for people to identify them correctly. I’ve noticed these bins in the Dadar area too. May be they are all over Mumbai.

After the waste is collected, it is mostly landfilled – which may be the easiest option but not a sustainable one. Land is scarce, waste generation is rising and there are associate health and environmental risks to landfilling, such as pollution and spread of diseases. A fire recently broke out in one of the dumping grounds in Mumbai – the pollution caused stayed for days.

Waste management is not an easy thing to do. Every way to deal with it has its relative merits and demerits and is handled on a case-by-case basis. A city needs a different waste management strategy than a village. It does get easier with segregation at source – that is if you and I provide the waste collectors with segregated waste – waste separated into types specified by the local authority, such as the BMC in Mumbai. That said, below is the notice my society received. I am not sure how many people in my building would really understand vermi composting or even know why they need to segregate and what will happen to the segregated garbage once the BMC takes it.

I have yet not seen the change in the way the waste is collected in my building, everything still goes into one big bin. Hopefully, this will change soon and with some more motivation other than sending notices, such as dissemination of information through awareness campaigns.

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In the villages of India, waste composition has been changing with economic development. In my hometown in Ratnagiri district, dry recyclables were scattered all around. Same goes with tourist destinations like Alibaug in the Raigad district, a place I often visit. The villagers are often not aware of the health and environmental consequences of littering, they simply burn everything.

There are all kinds of waste other than household garbage, but that’s a topic for another day. For more information on what is dry waste, wet waste, hazardous waste, household hazardous waste, click here.

Solid waste affects water, air and soil quality, and the way we live. We live on water, air and soil, isn’t the equation simple? We can get rid of solid waste and turn it into something useful. Plenty organizations are helping out the public to make this possible, all we got to do then is be supportive, educate yourself, and participate in the process. You can start simple, so that you don’t overwhelm yourself – don’t be a litterbug. If you don’t know what to do, ask for help, approach the authorities, or approach someone who can help you approach the authorities. Or map it using the Swachh Bharat app!

The following video shows working models of rural waste management:

| | सह-जम्́ कर्म कौंतॆय | स-दॊषम् अपि न त्यजॆत् | सर्वारंभा हि दॊषॆण | धूमॆनाग्निर् इवाव्ड़्ताः | | “No on should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke” – Bhagvad Gita

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13 thoughts on “It matters where the bhutta goes

  1. My society does follow dry wet and wet waste separate collection. Colour coded dustbins in public places would help.

  2. Thanks for providing the link to the detailed categories of household waste. So the main categories are
    (1) “Wet Waste”, which is organic/food material that can be composted http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost to produce fresh, nutrient rich soil. Maybe its collecting bin should be colored green.
    (2) “Solid Waste”, which are mostly wood and non-biodegradable plastics products. These can be burned in a regular solid fuel based power plant to generate electricity. Maybe its collecting bin should be colored black (since the collected material is equivalent to coal). And
    (3) “Hazardous Household Waste”, which must be burned in a special incinerator http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incineration which must also be fitted with equipment to remove pollutants from the produced flue gas. Valuable metal can be recovered from the ash of this waste stream. Maybe its collecting bin should be colored red.

    Interesting to think about these things. :-)

  3. You are right. Making the bins different would alert people to the fact that they have different uses. At present they look the same.
    Here in the UK it is common now for waste to be segregated before house-to-house collection. In my area we divide into food waste, recyclable and landfill. It seems to work pretty well.

    1. Really glad to see things happening! So, basically, all the inerts go to the landfill right? Such as construction debris? Does wood too go to landfill too, if the houses there use a lot of wood?

  4. Yes it does matter and you are right the bins need to be color coded.. here the bins have different lids.. Black is rubbish..Blue life is for recycling. .Brown for garden waste..

    And yes let’s make our country clean..

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