Pune Symbiosis student research reveals for waste management, best to work like an Egyptian
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Pune Symbiosis student research reveals for waste management, best to work like an Egyptian

Based on Swot (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), student research showed Egyptian model renders sewage management process much more efficient

pune Updated: Feb 14, 2018 16:16 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Symbiosis student,research reveals
Interactive talk of Isher Judge Ahluwalia on waste management, organised at BR Ambedkar Museum in Pune. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO)

Students from the Symbiosis School of Economics (SSE), on Tuesday, presented their research discourses on various aspects of waste management. The research claimed to have discovered that effective seamless functioning between the municipal corporation and Zabbaleen waste pickers in Egypt, without the involvement of a third party, rendered the process more efficient.

As the chief guest,Isher Judge Ahluwalia, chairperson, Indian council for research on international economic relations (ICRIER) was present to provide her expert feedback to the students.

One of the seven presenting groups chose to compare the nuances of different waste collection models, including the Pune-based SWaCH (Solid Waste Collection and Handling) model.

As per their research, they have used an Egypt-based model involving workers from the Zabbaleen community, for city-based and other national agencies to learn from.

Based on a Swot (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), the team believed that analysis of the Zabbaleen waste pickers’ model, without the involvement of the third party, renders the process more efficient.

As per their presentation, a Zabbal usually earns Rs 32 per day for door-to-door collection, which also involves manual segregation.

The aspect of payment, students said, is advantageous for the individuals considering that many are migrants and belong to the lower economic classes.

Mirroring this withSWaCH model, the students urged the need to establish a similar stable payment scheme and seamless network of functioning forSWaCH workers.

Every presentation was followed by a feedback session which involvedAhluwalia raising a number of questions, including the discourse on caste-based professions of theSWaCH workers.

“I was told by students and SWaCH members that the workers mostly belong to both lower economic classes as well as castes, hence, attention needs to be paid so that no stigmatisation takes place with respect to the profession.

“And, I believe, the factor of earning a decent stable payment for these labourers is a beginning. Further, there should be a stigmatisation trapping their aspirations to diverge into other livelihoods,” saidAhluwalia.

Commenting on the same,Laxmi Narayan, co-founder of SWaCH said,“Although we are aware that most ragpickers belong to a certain caste, there is no such case of propagation of stigma through this.

“Instead, we believe it is correct to give them the choice to accept or deny this profession and go for some other livelihood with higher earning.”

As feedback to yet another presentation concentrating on the importance of source segregation of domestic waste,Ahluwalia added,“I would like to not use the term segregation as it is an outcome of a practice that we as a society should stop. Instead, the correct expression is not to mix the waste.

“Segregation comes after the waste has already been mixed, and not only does it degrade the value of the material, it sometimes renders useless and toxic. Also, the recent technological advancements, are promoting and compacting the mixed waste along with incineration.

“Both are extremely harmful. Firstly compacting makes the segregation of the erstwhile loosely mixed waste almost impossible, and incineration although clears waste, but transforms the visible solid waste to invisible aerial waste contributing to air pollution. Municipalities need to avoid these methods.”

Prof. Sharad Kale,head of technology transfer and collaboration at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc), present at the event and commenting on a student project on ‘electronic waste’, mentioned that laws in e-waste are not implemented correctly and that there exists a lack of formal e-waste data.

“There should be designated trucks that collect e-waste and municipal authorities can use GPS to monitor waste and some data on e-waste volumes can be generated.

“Mumbai municipality has some data regarding e-waste, through such processes,” said Kale. To this Ahluwalia pointed out,” Proper guidelines from the Ministry of Health regarding e-waste should be in place.

There should be an impetus on creating awareness on the health ministry. The government should be accountable in defining e-waste.”

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 14:42 IST