Recently,I got Rs 960 from a local vendor on selling away the dry waste which I collect at my home. For the last few months I have been segregating wet and dry waste at the first place of its generation, i.e., at home. And it’s not about money; it’s about how I could let the waste not be wasted. How I could utilize it for myself and put it into a chain of reuse and recycling. A recent research report by Bunch of Fools says that 81% of people in Raipur don’t have the slightest idea about waste management. We need to know that the idea of Swachh Bharat and safe environment doesn’t revolve only around clearing waste; it includes reduction of waste as well.
In primary schools, we all are taught to throw garbage in bins. This, undoubtedly, is a good thing to do. But is it the end of our duty?
Throwing garbage in bins is not the end of waste management process, it’s actually the beginning. The first step in waste management is segregation. Just imagine mixing all different colors of clay and then trying to separate it. Now, imagine if you don’t mix them at the first place. Of course, it’s easier if you don’t mix the clay. Similarly, garbage cannot be segregated after reaching the dumping grounds. It has to be classified at your home.
Segregation is the separation of biodegradable waste from non-biodegradable waste for proper disposal and recycling. Improper segregation may cause mixing in landfills. This in turn, can lead to toxic release in the ground and eventual contamination of ground water. Methane gas is likely to be released in such circumstances, which is one of the most harmful greenhouse gases. Proper segregation leads to proper recycling. Most of the waste can be reused and
recycled. However, improper segregation process can cause many things to be left out from the recycling process.
Most of us don't realize that unsegregated waste from households is sorted by rag pickers. They segregate waste with their bare hands. Often glass and other waste objects may cause cuts and bruises and also infection leading to severe illnesses.
What can you do?
Waste from a house can be broadly divided into two categories – dry waste and wet waste. Please put two different colors (like red,green, blue or yellow) of bins at your home. Collect wet waste in one and dry waste in the other. Just like it took several months to develop the habit of throwing rubbish in dustbins, it will take a few months to get used to segregating your waste. But in three months, it will become your natural reflex.
To make it easier, put up a list of garbage segregation items on a wall around these bins. Remember, wet and dry garbage need to be disposed and recycled differently. Wet waste includes cooked and uncooked food, waste from fruits and flowers, fallen leaves, dust from sweeping and other similar things. On the other hand, paper, plastic, rubber, metals, leather, cloth rags, wire and glassfall under the category of dry waste.
Segregation is the first step towards proper disposal of both categories of waste. Bits of plastic, for instance, are dry waste components which if not disposed properly can become an environmental hazard.
Raipur produces up to 500 tonnes of waste every month. Segregation and disposal is a major part of disposing this waste. You have an important part to play. Realize that there is no such place as ‘away’ ; when you throw anything it must go somewhere. By segregating waste at our homes we can reduce the wastage of waste by putting it to a proper place and proper use.