Environment Protection Begins at My Home
There is a picture of Abraham Lincoln, which, if seen closely, seems like individual dots, but if you see it from a little distance the image of Abraham Lincoln is visible. Many of us are caught up in the micromanagement of our lives and are unable to see the connection between different dots and the emerging challenges on account of ecological depreciation on a planetary scale.
It is the ten inches of soil blended with sun and water on which the food security of humanity rests. The soil erosion world over, on account of developmental activities like building of dams, roads, bridges and diversion of rivers, is leading to loss of vast quantities of fertile top soil. Further, soil degradation on account of overuse of fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides is leading to compromising the food quality and health.
With the backdrop of the above, can it be possible to rejuvenate and revive the quality of the soil through our urban centres, which generate vast quantities of waste everyday as per the ministry of environment, forest and climate change?
It is important that we are not intimidated with large challenges that need to be addressed with simple ideas and big positive outcomes.
Wet waste or organic waste consists of 50 per cent of home waste. Most cities are unable to cope up with the daily stream of waste. In many cities landfill sites are overfilling, while many smaller towns do not even have the so-called landfill sites (hence the
opportunity to keep the landfill site free, which is an imported practice and can be done away with better resource management).
It is because of this reason that the Silicon Valley of India – Bengaluru – is drowning in garbage lying on the street. Where the garbage was being dumped earlier was near a village. The villagers are now up in arms and have refused dumping of garbage near their homes. This story will be repeated in many parts of the country.
It is imperative that individuals realize that the government will not be able to cope with all these challenges on its own. Individuals must take responsibility for managing their waste in an elegant manner leading to a positive outcome.
There are simple technologies for implementing the ideas mentioned here. There is the three-bin composter for organic waste, which can fit into a small balcony (most people do not have the luxury of a garden today). Similarly, leaves can be composted exclusively in a bamboo composter in gated colonies, special economic zones (SEZs) and campuses of many large enterprises.
It is obvious the output of these two processes cannot be used by individual homes and can be redistributed to friends who have a garden, or the municipality for their needs. Houses in the outskirts can give the same to a nearby farming community. The options are innumerable and people will find ways and means of handling their organic waste responsibly and taking back to the earth, from where the organic waste has emanated from. (Views expressed in the article are that of the author Niranjan Khatri, general manager, Environment
Initiatives, ITC Hotels)