Express press service
CHENNAI: Door-to-door collection campaigns, awareness campaigns, demonstration sessions, interactive workshops, clean-up camps, awareness seminars and eco-friendly exhibitions…Three years of sustained effort, planned execution and collective input from Kasturba residents The Nagar Association (ROKA) brought forward an important lesson on how to implement effective waste management practices. Kudos to the team of responsible residents and volunteers who stepped up to shoulder the burden with the conservation workers and set an example with their work for other neighborhoods.
Participation is essential
As the local green gurus spring into action for their fifth mass drive, Janani Venkitesh, secretary of the residents’ welfare association, offers some insight into what to expect. The three-day event, which kicked off on February 11 at Bala Vidya Mandir School Auditorium, Gandhi Nagar, aims to recycle e-waste as well as fabric waste.
“There will be five collection points – OMR, Vadapalani, Kottupuram & Kottur Gardens and MRC Nagar. We have partnered with Tirupati-based World Scrap Recycling Solutions Pvt Ltd to collect and recycle e-waste. And with Wasted 360 Solutions for fabric waste which largely includes used shoes and clothing. The NGO reconstitutes waste at zero value by reusing, recovering and recycling waste. There was a huge response from all over town; we are grateful to social media,” she says.
ROKA officially came into existence in March 2019. It was launched with the common goal of implementing source separation of waste and its proper disposal through composting and other sustainable methods; primarily to reduce the amount of biodegradable and recyclable waste reaching landfills in urban areas. “What started as an environmentally-based activity to educate residents of the eight main roads and three streets in our neighborhood has evolved into a full-fledged program. Knocking on doors and tracking the daily accumulation of trash has helped us design citizen campaigns to make waves in our society. We have learned from our mistakes and now we are open to guiding other residential areas who want to lead an eco-conscious life,” shares Janani.
ROKA’s first e-waste collection on October 1, 2019 received an overwhelming response not only from their neighborhood but also from remote areas like Anna Nagar, Selaiyur, OMR and Shenoy Nagar, where people expressed interest in participating. Subsequently, COVID-19 slowed planned activities for 2020. Despite setbacks, the team conducted a fabric waste clean-up campaign in March 2021 and collected 10 metric tons of unusable and usable clothing and footwear .
“We have partnered with the Little Drops Foundation which reuses and recycles used clothing to make cushion covers, mats and diapers. Similarly, shoes were also collected and donated to an aggregator. We rarely realize how dangerous clothing waste can be and how much we can contribute to it on a daily basis. We often end up giving our old clothes in good condition to maids or thrift stores. What about underwear and fabrics that are not in used condition,” Janani informs.
To address the issue of e-waste, a clean-up campaign was conducted in July 2021. Volunteers collected four metric tons of e-waste and handed it over to Greater Chennai Corporation’s integrated recycler Waste Winn Recyclers Private Limited and World Scrap, based in Tirupati. Private Recycling Solutions Limited.
In a broader context, ROKA is working on setting up a decentralized waste management system to encourage people from other regions to join us. Recently we found some promising volunteers who were well networked in Porur and Tambaram. We will soon be helping them with a clean-up campaign. Once you help them, they will manage on their own,” summarizes a hopeful Janani.
The ROKA cleaning campaign is open today and tomorrow; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more details mail to [email protected] or call 7397234613