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Mumbai’s Parsis divided over setting up waste segregation unit near Tower of Silence

Those opposing the project said the unit would further open up the area to members from other communities

mumbai Updated: Jan 23, 2018 10:31 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Tower of Silence,Parsis
(HT File Photo)

After the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued directives to housing societies to segregate their own waste, the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) intends to set up a waste segregating and composting unit at its property in Ambawadi at Malabar Hill. Here, waste from 10 Parsi colonies in the city will be collected and treated.

The area where the waste treatment plant will be set up is close to the residences of Khandias, the traditional bier carriers, and is located next to the Tower of Silence.

Parsi colonies from where waste will be collected
  • Nirlon Parsi colony, Goregaon
  • Bharucha Baug, Andheri (West)
  • Panthaki Baug, Andheri (East)
  • Nowroz Baug, Lalbaug
  • NC Baugh, Mahim
  • Rustom Baug, Byculla
  • Godrej Baug, Nepean Sea Road
  • Cusrow Baug, Colaba
  • Gamadia Colony, Tardeo
  • Khareghat Colony, Hughes Road
  • Total: 2,500 houses

However, the project has been criticised by a few from within the community. Those opposing it said that a segregation unit near the Tower of Silence would further open up the area to the members from other communities and was akin to using the property for commercial purpose.

“BPP’s plan to set up a waste composting unit near the Tower of Silence is not acceptable because a community property cannot be used for commercial purposes such as making and selling of manure,” said Viraf Kapadia, trustee, Bhikha Behram Well.

BPP trustee Kersi Randeria, who had proposed the project, said they were only fulfilling the teachings of their religion.

“Our religion asks us to not pollute and by setting up a plant where we can treat the waste generated by our community, we are fulfilling our civic responsibilities as well. We have more than 2,5000 houses in 10 colonies across Mumbai. Also, the BMC has instructed big colonies to manage their own waste, so we are tackling this issue at community-level,” he added.

Randeria said the punchayet has a three-phase plan. In phase-1 they will rope in 10 big Parsi colonies and collect all the waste. Later, even the smaller colonies will be part of the project.

Once, they have a full-fledged unit in place, BPP plans to keep it open for the members of other communities as well and grow vegetables by using the compost generated by the plant.

As part of the drive, 66 volunteers have already enrolled. They will be trained in waste management and segregation. By March-end, the punchayet wants to set up one of the four tumblers for composting.

“We need to find a solution for waste management problem in the city. Dumping all the waste at Deonar has led to other environmental concerns, such as fires and smog. We need to have an alternative and we are trying to put that in place,” said Randeria.

BMC’s waste segregation plan

BMC had earlier set October 2, 2017, as the deadline to stop collecting wet waste from bulk generators (those who generate more than 100 kilograms of waste or have an area of 20,000 square meters or more. This includes large housing societies). Recyclable items like plastic, metal, glass, cardboard, discarded electronics have to be separated from kitchen and garden waste that can be composted locally and used as manure. The recyclable items are send to agencies that can recycle them. However, the deadline by later extended till to the end of January.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 10:29 IST