In pursuit of a green future, 30 environmentally-conscious children from a residential complex in Goregaon convinced society members to adopt a host of measures to reduce their waste. As a result, the society sends little waste to the city’s dumping grounds, saves rainwater and treats its own sewage.
Aged between five and 15, this young bunch that call themselves the ‘Green Army’, stay in Mahindra Eminente, a four-building complex that houses 250 flats in Goregaon (West).
Impressed by their idea, the society members decided to invest their energy in adopting measures such as three-bin segregation of waste, composting, recycling and holding eco-friendly drives during festivals.
“We realised that if the people around us don’t take care of the environment, we won’t have much of a world to inherit. Hence we thought we should take over and convince our parents of the need to adopt habits that are environment-friendly,” said Sia Gala, 13, a member of the Green Army.
“We are taught green practices in school by our teachers but we see that people around us don’t follow them. We want to set an example for others through our actions,” said Trusha Sohoni, 11, another member.
Kedar Sohoni, resident and architect of the green movement, first convinced the managing committee of the society of this initiative and then trained 30 volunteers of different age groups, including adults and senior citizens about waste segregation and composting practices. “The idea was to select people from every building so the dissemination of information was much faster. After surveying societies with similar projects, we decided to kickstart ours in November 2015,” he said.
Today, waste is segregated into three categories. The organic amounts to 140kg, the dry waste 20kg and the reject (biomedical waste) 5kg daily. The organic waste is converted into manure through the use of bio-culture at eight compost drums. The dry waste is given to a private NGO for recycling and the biomedical waste is separately collected and disposed of by the civic body.
“Since the beginning of the project, we have managed to stop five tons of waste from being taken to the city’s dumping grounds,” said Arif Siddiqui, chairman of the society. “The manure generated is used in our gardens and the excess is given to residents to use at home.”
The society also reuses 75 lakh litres of water a year by recharging the groundwater through rainwater harvesting and sewage treatment plant projects. “The water is used for non-potable purposes only,” said Shrenik Baid, secretary. “After the green measures suggested by the children, we have already recovered Rs50,000 from a total expenditure of Rs 3.5 lakh for all projects.”