The Chennai Corporation is working on a proposal to enforce strict garbage segregation and management practices for all large residential complexes, wedding halls and hotels in Chennai, which cause huge generation of wastes. Chennai Corporation has also given approval for integrated solid waste management plants in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur, Chennai. Cities such as Singapore have made their marks globally in effective waste management and spick-and-span cleanliness by simply following the 3 ‘R’s – Reduce (reduce waste generation), Reuse (re-using goods as much as possible) and Recycle (processing used items to form new items, to avoid acquiring new items and prevent wastage).
The first step towards effective waste management is segregation. Waste segregation involves separating of waste or garbage into different elements like Wet Waste, Dry Waste, Toxic Waste and Biomedical waste.
How can Apartment Associations initiate and manage effective garbage segregation
A primary constraint with Home Owner’s Association in India today is the lack of suitable volunteers to manage waste and garbage segregation. Hence they can either:
- Appoint volunteers (Residents / Tenants) in charge of the task; or
- Appoint a suitable waste management consultant / organization which can manage this task for them. http://www.grotal.com/Chennai/Waste-Management-Companies-C47/ is a website that list various waste management companies across Chennai:
Apartment Associations have to then chalk out a Garbage Segregation program under the following major agendas (which can be managed by the appointed volunteers / Consultant Company):
- Educate waste collectors and create awareness among residents, garbage collectors and garbage contractors on proper waste management.
- Chalk out and implement an effective Garbage Segregation program for the apartment complex.
- Residents can be encouraged to buy items whose packaging can be recycled.
- Training housekeepers on garbage segregation.
- Using reusable bags such as cloth bags for shopping and groceries.
- Recycling garbage like, plastic, paper, food wastes, cans etc. as much as possible.
- Produce Compost from kitchen & garden wastes instead of dumping into bins.
- Repairing items or giving off items to people who need them instead of dumping them in bins.
- Monitor waste: Identify waste management channels, recycle items as much as possible, encourage residents to give out minimal garbage, periodic waste management review within apartment complex.
How Home Owner’s Associations can implement effective Garbage Segregation program
During their general body meeting, the Apartment association can chalk out a suitable Garbage Segregation program in the following lines: Garbage collected from individual houses can be segregated into the following types, dropping them in separate containers, placing labels on them to indicate the type of waste.
(a) Dry Wastes: Dry wastes include plastic, paper, glass, metals, rubber, rags, crockery, leather, cardboards, and sacks etc. These wastes can ideally be given to even rag pickers.
(b) Wet Wastes: Wet wastes are predominantly waste materials from the kitchens. They include left over / rotten foods, peels or remains of fruits and vegetables etc.
(c) Toxic Wastes: Toxic wastes are high health and environment hazard wastes emitting out of garbage (lethal gases, liquids or solids) which can contaminate even lakes or rivers.
(d) Biomedical Wastes: Biomedical wastes are highly infectious and dangerous that come out or sourced out of laboratories, clinics and hospitals or other medical centres, in the form of solids, liquids, and sharps.
(e) Segregation of garbage for Compost: The best method of waste management is to segregate plant and other living material remains in your garbage and create useful Composts out of them. These composts can be used as a highly valuable resource to enrich garden soils, thus recycling a substantial part of the garbage. Composts can be obtained predominantly from the kitchen wastes in most apartment complexes.
(f) Biogas: In principle, biogas can be produced from organic matter, hence sources such as kitchen wastes, plant and animal wastes are ideal for biogas production. Potential benefits include production of electricity, fuel gas for machines, transportation fuels, etc.
Ashiana, is a 174 residence apartment complex in Alwarpet, Chennai, which has implemented effective garbage segregation & waste management techniques right from its early stages of Apartment Owner’s Association formation. Useful Compost manure is also produced out of kitchen wastes, sourced from its residents.