It is quite a common site to see piles of garbage as high as hills dotting the landscape of landfills at the outskirts of a city. If one is to enter Delhi from the Karnal side, these hills can be seen from very far off. Garbage menace has grown into a wild uncontrollable beast. But the question that needs to be asked is how we are contributing in controlling the situation?
On closer inspection of the garbage piles, it can be seen that the major contributor to this is the garbage generated by households. Household waste consists of kitchen waste, plastics, paper, metals, glass etc.
The mixing up of household garbage makes decomposing difficult. If garbage is segregated, then proper disposal can see the total amount of waste reaching landfills drastically reduced. Kitchen waste can be collected and turned into vermi-compost, ensuring an excellent supply of fertiliser to keep the green thumbs happy. With the wet waste turned into fertiliser, all that remains is the dry waste which usually contains materials that can easily be recycled. The dry waste can be collected and given to rag pickers or sold to the neighbourhood ‘kabadiwala’.
My own house is modelled in such a way to minimise its impact on the environment.
• I have a 2’x 8’ pit in my backyard, where all the kitchen waste is converted into vermi-compost to be used as fertilisers. Against popular perception, this compost does not raise a stink.
• Recyclable materials are handed to rag pickers on a condition that they keep our locality free of plastics thrown by errand people.
• Water from kitchen and bathroom is collected along with harvested rainwater which is then used for gardening purposes.
• Toilet disposal system is separated; it flows into a soak pit from a septic tank.
• I have installed solar water heaters that have greatly reduced the usage of electricity to heat water.
• Preheated water is used in kitchens and bathrooms; the washing machine has two water inlets, hot and cold with the hot water inlet connected to the solar water heater.
• We use LED and CFL lighting fixtures.
• Air conditioners with their outer units are placed in shade and in well air circulated area so that maximum efficiency is obtained.
• There is a traditional fire place in my back yard, where wooden waste and materials not accepted by the rag pickers is burned to satisfy the growing need for cheap energy in face of increasing LPG prices.
• The ash produced from this stove is used as a natural pest repellent and fertiliser.
• My house is built in accordance to ‘Vastu’; it makes best possible utilisation of sunlight and air. Hollow walls in South and West, maximum windows and doors in North and East save a great deal in air conditioning and lighting.
• I have planted around 50 fruit bearing trees and climbers in the south side which gives fruit and also serves as protection from harsh sunlight.
• I have painted my house and roof top in white, so that minimum heat is absorbed.
• I am also waiting for Photo Voltaic panels to be cheaper and more efficient to clad my house and generate electricity for household use.
Rajesh Kumar Jain