While world leaders discuss how to save fire savaged Amazon, melting Arctic and other perils of climate change, a small housing community inside Powai’s upscale Hiranandani Gardens namely Torino, has been taking small steps to halt the earth’s rising temperature by reducing landfill waste and cleaning the neighbourhood. It has been two years since Torino residents addressed waste management with a seamless system of household waste collection, segregation at source, proper disposal, sustainable way to recycle organic waste and to improve sanitation.
Resident volunteers steer Torino’s voyage into clean and green orbit
It started on August 15, 2017 when a group of residents pledged to adhere to the mandate from Government in accordance with Waste Management Rules issued in 2016. Thus emerged a resident-volunteers team. Around that time, all housing societies were given a letter by BMC but Torino took the task to completion by starting segregation of waste on 1st September 2017.
Four types of wastes were identified, their disposal verified, bins purchased and even created where necessary, like an ethical e-waste vendor was roped in for electronic waste.
Residential Torino boasts sustainable recyclable waste management system
Experts in waste management were consulted and a famous storyteller and puppeteer Usha Venkataraman was roped in to illustrate and drive home the concept. From sanitation staff to housemaids, drivers, part timers and even visiting beauticians were told to segregate waste.
It took months to attain cent percent segregation. Volunteer-led teams did daily inspection of waste from each apartment, every bag was checked. Deviations were noted where waste was not properly separated or mixed up and occupants were notified and educated. On every mix up, a defaulters slip was issued. In the first month, 50 percent apartments were not compliant. After about six months, there was cent percent adherence. Another ecological friendly step by Torino is to dissuade residents to use plastic bags for dry waste.
Simultaneously, Torino installed a sustainable, natural and energy saving method of composting organic waste comprising food n garden waste. Composting bins were installed and process started on 1st December 2017.
Torino generates average of 80-85kgs a day of organic waste. The volunteers supervise filling of compost bins, maintain data, check quality and oversee the process, daily since last two years.
Every composting cycle produces compost which is pure soil, ideal as fertiliser, used for society’s own kitchen garden and private gardens n pots. Compost is also used as dehydrant in the same composting process as replacement by mixing it along with coco peat and sawdust. The method and usage is completely cost friendly and sustainable.
Last year, Torino contributed compost towards a Forest Trail Garden in Powai, a project by a nature lovers group. The neighbourhood’s own green cover has improved and is gradually increasing also.
Apart from tackling organic waste and e-waste, the society gives dry recyclables to local recycling vendors. The BMC trucks are then given only the non recyclable waste from sanitary bins, medical and other household waste.
This leads to reduced landfill waste, saves transport cost and energy and reduces methane emission. With increasing air pollution and haphazard urbanisation, these steps are well timed. This might as well be a model for other housing societies to follow.
September marks two years of Torino’s green and clean endeavour. Now they have launched a Neighbourhood Cleanliness Drive. That's a topic for another story.