The Problem –
Waste Management has been a largely neglected topic in the rural areas and is now becoming more and more prominent with increasing availability and consumption of various types of consumer products. This generates a large quantity of packaging waste. Mixed waste at a household level like paper, plastic and organic waste is burnt or littered since there is no existing infrastructure to manage waste scientifically. Improper Waste Management in rural areas thus leads to air, water and soil pollution.
The Solution –
Segregated waste can be a resource and can generate economic value. The solution lies in working with various stakeholders like residents, waste collectors and aggregators and recyclers and creating a system to ensure every type of waste is separated and managed correctly.
Swades Foundation and Green Communities Foundation have put together a system which can solve this problem for the district of Raigad. The approach involves the following:
- Creating awareness programs at the village level on the need for Waste Management
- Creating a process by which waste is segregated at source and this segregated dry waste is then aggregated at the village level
- Ensuring that this accumulated inorganic waste is picked up by waste aggregators and sent to recyclers for resource recovery.
- Create a system for ongoing monitoring of above process of segregation at source, aggregation at village level, collection by aggregator and proper treatment of the collected waste; by respective stakeholders after GCF exit.
This ensures that waste is not burnt, littered or dumped.
What has been done so far? –
This approach has been piloted at 7 villages in Mangaon Taluka. Villagers have been trained to segregate their waste and empty the dry waste into a community bin. Organic waste is converted into compost at their own premises. The inorganic waste is then picked up by an aggregator to be stored at their premises. Once a certain minimum quantity is reached, this waste is picked up by recyclers who also ensure that waste with low/ no economic value is collected and disposed off correctly. This is enabled by brands to meet their EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility ) compliance targets. ().
Impact created –
A behaviour change has been brought about as regards the waste management habits of villagers. This set of 7 villages (350 houses) will now save around 3 tons of just inorganic waste from getting burnt, littered or dumped per year every year. In addition to the positive impact on the overall village environment, it will have positive effects on health and hygiene of villagers due to reduced pollution levels.
Swades on-ground team is already well entrenched with the target villages. They help organize training sessions for awareness and sensitization which are conducted by the GCF program team. The village development committees are made responsible for local compliance in terms of segregation. The GCF monitoring team also keeps a track whether the standard operating procedure is being followed at the villages.
The GCF team also identifies partners who are part of the supply chain which consists of aggregators and recyclers and liaisons with them to ensure that inorganic waste is collected and transported to its appropriate destination.
Scale up plan –
Swades has a plan of creating over 350 dream villages in Raigad in the next one year. One of the requirements to certify a village to be a dream village is that it should be doing proper Waste Management. Thus, Swades and GCF plan to enrol all these dream villages to become Waste Free villages in the next one year thus ensuring over 1200 tons of waste is correctly recycled year on year.