Episode 3 of Satyamev Jayate, Season 2 deals with the issue of garbage disposal. The episode examined how waste is produced, how it can be converted in a useful resource. It looked at how people are making a difference and introduced us to waste warriors.
Aamir Khan began the day on a lighthearted note, recalling to mind how Hindi films invariably turn to foreign locales to shoot picturesque scenes, pointing out that it is because of the cleanliness there that make environments so attractive. He also spoke of the paradox of a people who choose to bathe at least once a day and who sweep and swab religiously; however choose to take no care of the cleanliness of our surroundings.
Garbage mounds everywhere, the pollution of ground water and soil, the spread of disease, the occurrence of miscarriages and birth defects – these are some horrific realities we are introduced to. Tipping fee and truck fees, the misuse of public funds, the mafia-corporate-political nexus – a guest on the show spoke about how there is endemic corruption in the garbage disposal system.
Crores are paid for treatment of garbage but all that the contractor does is dump garbage at some point.The law that requires separation of wet and dry garbage as well as public responsibility is completely ignored – by government and by the public.
The Gorai experiment
In Mumbai’s Gorai area, S R Maley scientist and Birju Mandra created a virtual paradise out of dreadful mountains of waste – the show spoke about how this was accomplished using bacteria and flies, creating soil out of garbage using the process of composting. The government was not interested in this simple solution because it was cheap and effective; has no scope of corruption. The 1,60,000 metric tons of garbage produced can so easily be turned into useable resource – however the apathy of people and authorities is shocking.
The Biogas experiment
Dr Sharad Kale, Scientist, BARC has made it possible to cook food for a canteen using biogas created from waste generated. He appeared on the show to underline the need for treating all waste as resource and how sending garbage to the dump is a grave mistake. The equivalent of 2 lakh LPG cylinders can be generated per day from garbage produced.
Dr Nuriel Pezarkar has a proposal for municipalities to treating wet waste to produce high quality gas. However, corporations apparently have no waste – it is all contracted! More examples of how corruption creates the filth we see.
Problems with Incinerators
Dr Ravi Agarwal spoke about how incinerators are not viable for India, our climate and requirements and about the perils of dioxin released into the air via this process. He also spoke about how incinerators destroy livelihoods; how they are polluting, expensive and unnecessary. The Vote for Change Campaign seeks to change the future of waste management.
A project called ‘Swach’ in Pune has shown the way for effective waste management. Saru Bai Waghmare spoke of how her life was like a dog earlier, how she was mistreated by people and by the police. Laxmi Narayan, who has spearheaded the Pune project, also spoke about the problems of people not disposing of their garbage properly.
The Warangal Clean City Championship and the Vellore initiative
Vivek Yadav, Municipal Commissioner and Dr B Janardhan Reddy have made it possible for Warangal to be one of the few if not the only really clean city in India. The show detailed how this has been made possible and how it is possible to replicate this system in other places; even the larger cities of India.
C Srinivasan spoke about using animals such as pigs, frogs, cows and so on to manage waste in Vellore; a self sustaining model. Cows convert vegetable waste into dung and methane gas; converting garbage into useable resource. Maggots are used to convert rotten produce into useable resource. Chickens, ducks and frogs also do valuable work. All these creatures work fast, don’t demand pay and don’t form unions!
The Plastic Problem
Roads from plastic waste – sounds like sci-fi, but Dr R Vasudevan of Thyagrajan College of Engineering has actually show that this can be done.
The show also highlighted Almitra Patel’s efforts to change solid waste management policies in the country. She spoke about the importance of not putting plastic into food waste.
Waste separation – dry and wet – can transform our nation. To get involved, sign the petition and give support to this quest for change. Visit the Satyamev Jayate website or call 1800 103 2301 to get involved. Meanwhile enjoy this peppy song on the theme of waste management by Composer Ram Sampath, lyricist Suresh Bhatia and singer Rituraj:
By – Reena Daruwalla