Almost 70% of the waste that goes to landfills is organic waste that can be easily be put to use through composting. Here’s how swachh warriors are fighting India’s growing waste woes.
With one agenda in mind – to save the choking landfills of the cities, an enthusiastic group of people from Pune formed WhatsApp groups so that they can teach one simple waste management technique to everyone – Compost Banao Compost Apnao. Today, the WhatsApp groups include more than 600 families living across India, who are successfully converting their daily kitchen waste into compost and saving approximately 150 kgs of waste every day from going to the landfills.
When we started in April, the agenda was simple, we wanted to pass on what we have learnt so far about composting. The WhatsApp group was started by 8 people who were living in same ward in Pune and used to compost at home individually. Our common interest for composting clicked; we thought that we all should come together and spread this idea to the world, that’s when we started a social initiative and created a WhatsApp group, said 43-year-old Siddharth Naik who works at Infosys and is also one of the mentor of the composting group.
Initially the WhatsApp group had 30 members, but, the idea and message of composting spread and today, these Puneiites have 3 composting WhatsApp groups running through which they are teaching the world a simple technique of waste management – Composting. From sharing do-it-yourself (DIY) videos on how to compost to sharing quick tips to where people can buy readymade low-cost compost kits, this WhatsApp group guides people on anything and everything about Composting. Apart from the ‘How To Compost’ guide, the members of the group are free to post their queries related to composting. The 8 mentors who started these WhatsApp groups answer the queries almost immediately.
We are not just a random group on WhatsApp who are guiding people about composting or any other environment related issue, we ensure, families in our WhatsApp group compost their waste. We collect their data, ask for their success stories and also in Pune city, we have tied up with a local NGO to ensure the supplies related to composting like kits and nutrient blocks used for the process of composting is readily available, added Siddharth Naik.
Besides the WhatsApp group, these enthusiasts also hold physical training sessions in Pune for people simply to teach them how to compost at home. Many group members have successfully completed two cycles of the composting process.
Talking about his and other mentors zero-waste-lifestyle, Siddharth Naik added, “All of us know the challenges of waste management in our country, we all are doing our bit to save the depleting planet by opting for a zero-waste lifestyle, it’s not difficult, it just needs change of habits. In our colony we have initiatives like Plastic Management, E-Waste Management – We all try not to use Plastic that harms the environment and opts for greener choices. We collect the recyclable waste and send for recycling. If we can do it, any colony, any person can do the same.”
The waste warrior Siddharth Naik signs off by saying, move from NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) to YIMBY (Yes in My Backyard) – and adopt “My Waste My Responsibility” mantra. If we want to fulfill the dream of Clean India by 2019, we should follow these golden steps – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The city of Pune was ranked 13 in the latest Swachh Survekshan that assessed 434 cities and towns for its cleanliness across country. Some credit of this Swachh rank goes to green warriors like these who take it on to themselves to make a difference and become agents of change.