Don't waste the Waste..!

Well… we all have heard, talked or read about the three R's - Reduce, Reuse and Recycling. There is nothing new about them, isn’t it?! But we hardly implement them in our day-to-day life. And that may be because we don’t know or understand the necessity to implement them and about their outcomes. What the R’s are for..?

Nashik is fast growing city. And like any other developing city, our municipal corporation is facing countless challenges due to increase in urban populations such as crowding, transportation, traffic, slums, water supply, power shortages, drainage, and above all, pollution. Pollution is the result of many variables. While air pollution and water quality get maximum share of attention, one pollution source that is largely ignored, though it often stares us in the face is Solid Waste.

Solid waste is defined as non-liquid material that no longer has any value to the person disposing it. Commonly known as garbage, rubbish or trash. Solid Waste Management (SWM) is usually the largest budget item for cities, especially in developing countries. Uncollected solid waste is often the leading contributor to local flooding, air & water pollution and can have an enormous impact on health, local environment as well as on the economy. As cities become larger, consumption of goods and services increases leading to more & more waste. Nashik generates about 450 tons/day of waste. That will be roughly around 165 Metric tons/year. Guess what will be the waste generation of whole world. We need to look at SWM quite seriously now onwards.

This is Garbage Dumping yard of Nashik located near 'Pandavleni'. Everyday, whatever Garbage Vans pick up, is dumped over here. Forget the sight, but it generates terrible smell which one can not stand even for few minutes. To add fuel to the fire, corporation started burning the garbage to create more space for more ‘garbage’, thus making it one of the most polluted area! Basically, Burning or Incineration of waste is not a solution at all! 'Worsening the waste' is what I call it! Burning releases very poisonous & harmful invisible gases Dioxins which are dangerous to human as well as birds & animals. In simple words, burning your waste will result in Landfills in the Sky. With all these, the residential area is not very far from the place. Almost all nearby societies complain about the smoke and smell from the site. The picture speaks for itself. There are people working in this horrible condition for management of this huge amount of garbage, which is increasing day by day. And most of all, the waste management is taking away huge amount of taxpayer's money.

Dumping or Land-filling is the most commonly used method for waste control in developing countries, with many of the dumps in the developing world being open dumps and unsanitary landfills, polluting nearby aquifers, water bodies and human settlements.

How much amount of garbage must be here? Guess... My camera couldn't cover every corner even in it's wide angle. Please see the following image full screen. And just try to compare the height of a human standing in blue outfit near the rising smoke with the height of the garbage mountain...

With no proper planning for waste disposal in place, there is no surprise that our precious but easy resources are over exploited and garbage mountains are being increasingly seen everywhere and the residents are slow-poisoned by the emissions of the burning.

Keeping our cities clean begins with each one of us. When we walk down the streets in our cities we see litter all around us - sometimes garbage bins have more litter around them than inside them. It is so easy to blame the litter and accuse paper, plastics, tin foil and food waste for making our environment dirty and unhealthy. But does paper, plastics, tin, foil and food waste appear magically on our streets and in our neighbourhoods? No, it’s thrown away and disposed of irresponsibly by each one of us!

Waste management in our cities continues to be a problem due to our littering habits and inadequate waste management systems. If we as responsible citizens use and dispose of waste correctly, we can contribute to protecting our environment, conserving natural resources and keeping our cities clean. A waste reduction strategy must be incorporated by each of us whether at home or at work by following the 4R's principle. Yes! Lets add one more R before rest of them.

REFUSE : I think, this is more important principle than the rest 3R. Refuse the single use or disposable products. Items with unnecessary complex packaging can also be refused and to see what can be deleted from our shopping list!

REDUCE : The best way to manage waste is to not produce it. This can be done by shopping carefully and being aware of our choices. Ex. at work, one can cut down on paper use. At home you can begin by purchasing things with lesser packaging, more durable & refillable items, carry your own shopping bag, avoid disposable items and reduce the use of plastics. 

REUSE : It makes economic and environmental sense to reuse products. Sometimes it takes creativity. You can reuse old bottles, jars as storage bins and buy reusable items rather than disposable ones.

RECYCLE : It is a series of steps that takes a used material & processes, re-manufactures and sells it as a new product. Segregate your waste for better disposal and purchase recycled/green products. A ton of paper from recycled material conserves about 7,000 gallons of water, 17-31 trees, 60 lb of air pollutants and 4,000 KWh of electricity. 

The four R's - all help not only to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away, but they also conserve natural resources, landfill space & energy.
Plus, the these R's save the soil or land and money used for landfills.


We can sell unwanted newspapers, glass bottles, old electronic items to the raddiwallas and kabadiwallas (waste traders) - because there is a value in them. There is value too in the waste we dispose of everyday. We can unleash this value only if each household separates its waste into wet and dry. Then may be, we'll all come to know : Waste is actually a resource!

Wet Waste: Food, vegetable peels, egg shells and other organic materials. These are easily biodegradable and can break down and become compost or soil within a short period. Therefore, this waste should go into a compost pit. You can build your own vermi-compost pit in your colony/home and convert all wet waste into useful compost. This would reduce the pressure on our landfills also.

Dry Waste: Paper, plastics, tin, foil, glass, cloth and other materials that do not biodegrade. These materials can be recycled and made into useful products.

Better administration and public infra-structure are an immediate necessity in lower income countries. Most importantly, public attitude needs to be changed as soon as possible. And the change should start from oneself. Unless there is a shift towards a more responsible attitude, no enduring solution is possible. Public education that informs people of options to reduce waste, increase recycling and composting are a good starting point. There is also a need for the design of longer-lasting and reusable products. Municipalities can encourage people to form groups, segregate waste and process it at their end. Repairing, donating, selling and reusing products when possible, especially in the case of e-waste, is also essential. For example, only 5% of India’s electronic waste gets recycled due to absence of proper infrastructure and legislation. And last but not least, each & everyone of us should make an sincere effort to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse And Recycle..!

Today is 5th Anniversary of Gifting Trees. Let us join hands to reduce the load on dumping yard. We all must have a goal of reducing the amount of waste going into landfills by 40 percent. Everyone can help meet this goal and save natural resources, energy and money by following the four R's. Reducing waste also means conserving our limited resources. 

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