Trash to treasure: Finding solutions to a waste imperilled Manipal3 min read
MANIPAL: When they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” one can liken the same to the Solid and Liquid Resource Management (SLRM) initiative under the Swachh Bharat movement, which is driven to effectively manage waste that can further be converted into resources.
In Manipal alone, with close to 10 tons of waste generated in a day, the dump yard near T A Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) accumulates a large heap of garbage overtime, garnering a sore sight for eyes; an unbecoming situation for the environment, it categorises Manipal as a ‘bulk waste generator’. Along with waste generated from residential areas, eateries, and the like, the numerous institutions within the university town contribute to an unceasing amount of garbage, most of which is not disposed in accordance to the nature of the waste such as biomedical, dry, and wet, and recyclable and non-recyclable. This adds to the larger problem of treating the waste, which is a crucial part of the process of segregating waste. The state of waste segregation in Manipal is such that despite on-site segregated disposal and collection takes place, monitoring the process till the end destination is poorly handled.
The need of the hour, in a town such as Manipal, wherein a large populace comprises of impressionable youth and educators, is to realise the importance of managing waste to curb and eventually overcome negative consequences that can lead to pollution and waste borne diseases.
With this vision, the SLRM concept ideated by C Srinivasan, Project Director and Consultant at the Indian Green Service (IGS), established in 50 Gram Panchayats in Udupi with encouragement from Priyanka Mary Francis, former Deputy Commissioner, Udupi. During her tenure, efforts were made to introduce the SLRM model on campuses in Manipal—however, due to a lack of systemic continuity, the state of waste management remained stagnant and unregulated, as it is today.
“According to state policy, all ‘bulk waste generators’ must manage their waste on-site. They can segregate waste based on its nature and sell the waste produce for resource conversion. Manipal can achieve self-sufficiency in waste management if they religiously follow this policy,” said Murthy T, SLRM District Consultant at the Udupi Zilla Panchayath.
In regards to the goals of this project, Mr Murthy T stated, “Our vision is to make all of Udupi a zero-waste district. But, it cannot be done by a single person or administration. We are in need of support. If people come up on their own to help, we are ready to administer technical help and other necessary measures. We are currently striving to start 100 more SLRM units within a year and want to speed up the process for betterment. Private institutions should also contribute because they are large enough to do that. It would be more than enough if they did. If they start handling waste properly on their campuses, it would reduce the burden of the government and that way they can also focus on other things that require attention. It is everyone’s responsibility to manage their own waste. If we all keep that in mind and act, we can achieve a zero-waste Udupi within a year!”
Featured Image Courtesy: Gibin Biju Justus
Edited by: Disha Acharya