Senior environmentalist and women rights activist Jyoti Mhapsekar holds citizens equally responsible along with municipal bodies for the saturation point our waste disposal system has reached.
"While the over flowing dumping grounds stare us in the face, most citizens choose to ignore any disposal problems outside of their own homes or streets. Everyone wants cleanliness around them and they want people to clean their streets, but they won't think of making it easier for them to do their jobs. They look down upon rag pickers while they should be ashamed their garbage has to be segregated by someone else", said 65-year-old Mhapsekar.
Jyoti's 40-year-old organization, Trimukti Sangatana, had started Parisar Vikas, a programme for ragpickers, about 12 years ago. It now has 3,000 members. She empowered these women by providing them training in financing and running their own Self Help Groups in connection with various societies. These women set up compost pits in societies where they encourage people to segregate wet and dry waste, while taking care of the composting.
"It has been a slow process because of the lack of initiative and collective responsibility of the people and municipality. No incentive has still been provided to societies to segregate even though Thane and Pune are way ahead in this regard. We talk about celebrating the Earth Day but we are not giving back to earth even a trifle of what it provides to us," said Mhapsekar.