City Pulse


June 10, 2014 By Team ICMYC
Bangalore generates over 5000 tonnes of waste every day, of which only 10% is segregated into dry and wet waste at the source. Before you throw unsegregated waste into your dustbins, have you ever considered what could happen to the one who rummages through stale food, vegetable waste and broken shards of glass that you consciously dump together?
“From throwing garbage into one bag to inculcating segregation as a natural habit is what we look forward to making people do,” says Akshay Yadav, Coordinator of Green Commandos. Akshay has been associated with the organisation since October 2010. Green Commandos, started as an independent non-profit organization, falls under the ambit of Youth for Seva initiative. It is also one of the 11 organizations that constitute the Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT), Bangalore.
Having previously worked as a Research and Development engineer at Nokia Seimens Networks, Akshay took a sabbatical, like many other Green Commandos volunteers, to pursue his interest in environment conservation.
“Green Commandos strives to bring about a bottom-up change as that is the only way to bring about sustainable change” says Akshay. He further opines “Change begins from our own backyard. Instead of waiting for politicians and bureaucrats to bring policy changes, we can be the change ourselves and take ownership of the problems that we see around us”.
 Akshay set out to educate residents about waste segregation and solid waste management. One of the areas that Green Commandos had a significant presence was in Judicial Layout. Local resident groups were mobilized in September 2011 after an initial orientation talk on Women’s Day earlier in March.
This was followed by meetings conducted to plan and formulate measures to tackle garbage problem in the layout. A procession was held to mobilize residents to join the waste management initiative. BBMP auto tippers were deployed to collect dry garbage in a separate collection. Akshay and team went door to door to explain the concept of dry waste segregation, eventually receiving 60% compliance from the area citizens. They also conducted workshops for housemaids and residents alike on capitalising on waste by treating garbage as gold.
A major challenge that the team faced was at the initial stage. Encouraging people to segregate waste was not an easy task. The team had to persistently visit houses every week to ensure they did what was expected of them. The second issue that worried the team was that BBMP auto tippers stopped collecting garbage, as they were not ‘adequately benefitted’. Also, the area didn’t have a fully functional dry waste collection centre.
The implementation of this program led to the successful onboarding of around 8 women residents, out of which three are currently serving as Resident Welfare Association presidents. Also, a majority of residents have inculcated the habit of segregating waste at home, and 100 kilos of dry waste was being retrieved per week from the locality of about 110 houses.