Bengaluru is a city divided into 198 Wards. Among these, 180 Wards have a Dry Waste Collection Centre (DWCC) in them while the other 18 run such centres in a collaboration set-up. The organisation that has spearheaded this change in waste segregation and waste picker integration is Hasiru Dala (Green Force).
In this interview with RJ Priyanka, Nalini Shekar, the co-founder of Hasiru Dala, talks about how it all began and how the state of awareness on waste among the citizens of Bengaluru is gradually changing.
The discussion touches upon how we treat waste on a daily basis, how the waste that is carelessly discarded can seep into the ground during monsoons, and how the lives of waste pickers and scrap dealers have transformed since Hasiru Dala came into existence in 2013.
A large amount of dry waste produced by the city passes through the DWCCs. These centres have revolutionised waste segregation by establishing a business model of functioning and by providing waste pickers safe and respectful working conditions that include weighing machines, toilets, drinking water, gloves, masks, slippers, as well as health insurance benefits.
Plastic remains one of the most commonly-found waste material of the city. The DWCCs collect and segregate close to 40 types of plastic items. Though the first step is almost always hand-sorting, some centres, like the one at Sadashiva Nagar (Ward 144), have machines across whose conveyor belt waste pickers can sit and sort the different types of plastic. Some of these then move to compression machines before being sent to the main godown.
Hasiru Dala provides scrap dealers training in running these centres and encourages waste pickers to expand their activities to door-to-door collection. The DWCC model extends beyond Bengaluru to Mysore, Tumkur and Nelamangala.
The responsibility of restoring the ‘Garden City’ identity of Bengaluru lies in our hands. We need to participate in the waste segregation efforts of BBMP, Hasiru Dala, and many more such organisations by directing our dry waste to the nearest DWCC and converting our wet waste into compost for terrace gardens. Hasiru Dala has placed this suggestion at the Solid Waste Management Round Table, Bangalore.
To become a part of this change, remember this motto – ‘My Waste, My Responsibility’.
Written by Shruti Sharada.