Tag: waste management

The Dry Waste and Wet Waste Problem

Last week I and my friend were walking around a man-made lake somewhere in Navi Mumbai talking about our career growth. And we thought of grabbing some ice cream. I picked up a Havmor cup of vanilla, while my friend wrestled with anxiety. As is common with him, he took about five minutes to select the perfect ice cream, and eventually ended up with a tri-cone.

We took another round of the square-shaped lake and began to search for a dustbin. Had it been 2010, we would not have found one, but since there is some local development lately, we did find one. Not one, but two, and that’s when the problem arose. The dry waste and wet waste problem.

The Dry Waste-Wet Waste Problem

Since the tri-cone wrapping was seemingly dry, my friend dumped it inside the bin labelled ‘dry waste’ (or suka kachra’). I hadn’t finished yet, so we talked about NMMC’s waste management program. All when I was still eating my ice cream!

The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) appears to have invested a lot in these bins as part of their ‘Clean Navi Mumbai’ mission. The strange and suspicious thing is that none of these – at least where I live – have been vandalized yet.

Back to the problem: When I finished eating my ice cream I didn’t know which bin to put the waste in – the dry waste bin or the wet waste bin. Since it was a cup, it still had vanilla stuck in the depressions and curves. The tiny plastic spoon that it came with was not too helpful when it came to scooping ice cream from these tiny curves. My friend suggested I lick the remnant vanilla directly off the cup and give company to his wrapping in the dry waste bin, but I wasn’t going to do that in front of people. I know they are constantly looking at me.

So, I peeked inside the two bins. The bin with the green-colored label ‘wet waste’ (or ola kachra’) was empty, while the other one had one biscuit wrapper and few other wrappers I couldn’t identify. Kudos to people who use the bins and don’t throw garbage away like it’s customary. We hit a roadblock.

Since the cup was “largely” dry, we both agreed that it be dumped into the dry waste bin. Both the cup and spoon found their place. And then we walked back to the lake wondering if the men who come to collect the garbage from these bins have ever encountered this problem.

One thing is clear, though – if not the segregation, at least the NMMC waste management has improved lately.

Throw It Off The Window Like Its Customary!

I am not boasting off but I try my best to find a garbage bin to discard any unwanted stuff I come across while travelling. And if you ask any of my more than 500 Facebook friends, you won’t argue. Dustbins are not in a jovial relationship with Bombay; everybody knows. But one service (or product) that has never seen a useful thing like dustbin is the Indian Railways.

Passengers throwing PET bottles, soft drink cans, canisters, food wrappers, chocolate wrappers, leftover food, diapers, polythene bags, etc. through windows/doors/commode cavities is a common sight in trains, be it local or passenger mail. I cannot fret but believe that this is an ongoing process since that first train rode through Bombay in 1853. I cannot fully throw the blame on passengers because if they see a dustbin, it behooves (at least) some of them to use it instead of yanking that wrapper off the door or window. While I am not stating the percentage of people who actually do it, I personally know a handful.

Last day I was travelling through North India with one of my kin. I was reading a journal as she casually threw an empty PET bottle through the window like it was a safe haven for bottles which would automatically incinerate or recycle it according to its type and create a new thingy from it. It had my rapt attention and when she tried to do it again with a candy wrapper, I struck her hand. “Don’t!”

“What?”

“Do not throw it off the window!”

She threw my hand back and in a swift motion, tossed the wrapper off the window. Her reply was even more insensitive. That this is what everyone does. All people throw garbage off the window. There is no other option, is there?

The question shut me up. I could have told her to keep a separate handy, carry pouch in her bag so that she can dispose of such waste in that & later throw it in her apartment’s garbage bin. But what I was more concerned of was the attitude. If everybody is doing it, why can’t we? Right!

It is not about “can,” it is about “would.” Anybody can throw garbage off train windows, but is it in your conduct that you would throw garbage off train windows? Think about it!

No one can stop this practise as it has reached to a level where there is no thought revolving around it. It is like those ancient India laws that are never touched, despite  continuous evolution of lifestyle. I don’t need to list the problems that arise off such littering, but if there is something that can reconstruct this attitude into a more constructive approach then it is self-realization. Why don’t you spare a minute of thought?