The walls of the otherwise rather shabby office of the H-west ward’s Solid Waste Management (SWM) department in Bandra turned into a canvas on Thursday, with the ward organising a mural painting competition and an environment-themed exhibition.
Students of eight schools, including four municipal schools in the area, participated in the competition, in which St Anne’s High School stood first. They demonstrated waste segregation through their painting. “Through art, these students conveyed how waste can be segregated and how the process is so much easier than it sounds,” said Valerie Fernandes, a Bandra resident and a teacher of St Anne’s school. “It was a good initiative as it not only gave students an opportunity to show their creative side, but was also an important exercise in spreading awareness on presering the environment,” she said.
Three colleges—National college, Khar Education Society and Rizvi College—also participated in the event. Rizvi College students displayed a vermi-composting pit made out of drums. “These drums can be kept on buildings’ terraces. The residents can put their vegetable waste in them and turn it into manure,” said a student of Rizvi College.
Two NGOs from the western suburbs also participated in the event. Santacruz-based NGO Triratna Prerna Mandal displayed a miniature sanitation project, with toilet blocks and the central office inside it. The project exists for real in Santacruz and the NGO has plans to implement it in the entire city. “There is a serious scarcity of toilets in the city. They are essential not only for the people but also for the city to stay clean,” says Dayanand Mohite of Triratna Prerna Mandal. Mohite added that with the help of the civic body and World Bank funds, which have been specifically allocated for the purpose, implementation of the project in the entire city can soon be a reality. “We are in the process of chalking out the proposal and will soon present it to the civic body,” he says.
Bandra-based NGO, Force, had also put up a stall in the event. Members of the NGO go door-to-door with BMC’s dry waste collection vans and recycle the waste to make useful things. “Though seemingly unimportant, plastic bottles if discarded properly, can be recycled to make fibres, which can be used in to make soft toys and clothes,” said Meenal Katanavare, a member of the NGO. The NGO also conducts regular trainings in slums and also among rag pickers to help them understand the importance of waste segregation. “There is a tremendous pressure on the dumping grounds of Mumbai, which are almost on the verge of getting filled up. It is high time that people should take responsibility and segregate waste, so that we can recycle the waste and use it,” said Katanavare.
Active H west ward residents
The SWM department, on its part, displayed the concept of terrace gardening in one part of the compound. “In a city crunched for space, terrace gardening helps one stay close to nature. Moreover, the process, as demonstrated, is not difficult at all,” said an official from the SWM department. “The programme was the ward’s initiative to spread the message of protecting our environment through waste segregation, creating vermi-composting pits and proper and hygienic sanitation facilities,” he added. The official said that residents of H west ward are active and aware when it comes to waste segregation. A few months ago, residents of Ice Factory lane inaugurated a vermi-composting pit for composting the wet waste generated by the society. Union Park ALM in Khar also has a composting pit, which is used by the entire society. Bandra’s National College have created their composting pit, where they discard their canteen waste.