Youngsters inspire 3 schools, 2 housing societies to take ‘zero waste’ challenge | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Youngsters inspire 3 schools, 2 housing societies to take ‘zero waste’ challenge

To prevent dumping ground fires, a group of college-goers conduct workshops on waste segregation

mumbai Updated: Oct 02, 2016 23:53 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Students of SIES, Matunga along with Team EduGet at a workshop in their school.
Students of SIES, Matunga along with Team EduGet at a workshop in their school.(HT Photo)

At a time when only a handful of educational institutions and housing societies are segregating waste, a group of 15 college students convinced three schools and two residential complexes to carry out 100% waste segregation so that mixed waste does not end up at city dumping grounds.

Recurring fires at dumping grounds earlier this year were caused by unsegregated toxic garbage with high methane content catching fire. Apart from a host of pollutants released in the air by mixed garbage burns, the dark liquid produced from decomposed waste also contaminates ground water – a source of drinking water.

Thanks to the efforts of college students, schools such as The South Indian Education Society (SIES) School, Matunga, Auxilium Convent High School, Wadala and Don Bosco High School, Matunga are moving towards becoming ‘zero waste’ institutes. While every school is segregating waste at source, their dry waste is being recycled by private NGOs and some are even composting their wet waste to produce manure.

Aged between 16 and 20, the college students, mostly reside in Matunga and Sion and call themselves Team EduGet. They work under the guidance of city-based NGO Karmayogi Pratisthan. “The group managed to connect civic officials, school authorities and NGOs so that treating waste at source becomes easier. Also, reaching out to young children about the initiative will help future generations resolve the garbage crisis the city is reeling under,” said Gaurang Damnia, founder of Karmayogi Pratisthan.

“We began this project after being inspired by the green heroes column in HT where various societies, markets, hotels, business parks, schools, colleges, temples were all handling their own waste,” said Vidit Shah, 20, project leader. “Our group reached out to Rotaract Club of Bombay Uptown, a local body that helped us plan the execution of the project.”

The students began working in November last year by conducting a survey of 10 random apartment complexes from Sion and Matunga to find if they were interested in carrying out waste segregation. After getting a positive response, they reached out to two housing societies at King’s Circle, Matunga - Chanchal Smruti and Palai Lalit Kunj Co-op housing societies, that began treating waste. “We were initially apprehensive but after we saw positive results, we felt motivated and made it our daily habit,” said Chandrani Khair, resident of Palai Lalit Kunj.

By February this year, the group began educating school students from Classes 1 to 10 about the importance of waste segregation through workshops, videos and one-on-one interactions. “Owing to their efforts (TeamEdu), the project is not only in schools but students are taking the message back home to their societies and asking parents and friends to carry out waste management,” said Kalyani Arumugam, SIES School, Matunga adding that the school will be installing a composting project in the coming months.

“After the students began their project, there has been substantial reduction in waste from F-north ward especially from educational institutions. Waste treated at source automatically reduces the burden from dumping grounds and helps reduce transportation cost, which is the tax payers’ money,” said a senior official from the BMC F-north ward, solid waste management department.