Sarathy Nagar in Chennai campaigns for garbage segregation

Poster of a deity and a bench have been put up to curb garbage dumping at Sarathy Nagar.

Chennai: Keeping the surroundings clean is challenging especially when there are overflowing garbage bins that are not cleared regularly.

However, instead of waiting for government agencies, residents of Sarathy Nagar, Velacheri, decided to take up the issue in their own hands. Their solution: Bin-less streets and segregation of waste.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the six streets of Sarathy Nagar are clean and, most importantly, binless for the past two years. People here have been segregating waste thanks to the efforts taken by the Sarathy Nagar Residents Welfare Association (SNRWA).

SNRWA secretary S Gokul said, “In 2017, we had two bins in the area and people used to dump waste even outside the can. It became very messy as the garbage was strewn all over the place.”
He also pointed out that since the entry road to Sarathy Nagar is narrow, it is difficult for garbage trucks to enter and leave the area.

“Subsequently, we cleaned the area and put up posters asking people not to dump waste here. It was just the beginning. To prevent people from dumping waste a poster of a deity and a cement bench was put up,” he said.

The association went on to distribute two bins and one bag each to houses in the Nagar. However, in the past few months, there had been a lapse on the part of the civic body in door-to-door collection of garbage. But then the residents are not the ones to take things lying low.

An awareness campaign on segregation being held.

SNRWA joint secretary Haripriya Ramesh said, “The removal of the bin was a favourable thing because it used to be messy and trucks found it difficult to come and collect it. After we removed the bin, there is a need for Corporation workers to come house to house. When that takes a beating, people do not know where to dump the waste. So, we had talks with Corporation officials and Ramky. Now the segregated waste is taken to the right place for composting, and the civic body is doing a good job.”

The association also held a meeting with the members recently. Chennai Corporation and other experts spoke to residents about waste segregation. At the meeting, they demonstrated how to compost waste for individual houses so that the degradable garbage can be taken care of by the residents themselves.

“It could be used for an individual house or for an apartment of four,” Hari Priya said. They also organised a fun competition where 10 garbage items were kept and the participants had to figure which bin (red, green or recyclable) category they fell into. “We wanted people to be more aware and enthusiastic,” Hari Priya said.

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Naomi N