According to a 2015 report, India is one of the highest garbage producing countries. Approximately 45 million tonnes of garbage is disposed in an unhygienic way by the municipal authorities across the country. A majority of this garbage is not segregated.
The dry and wet waste must be manually scavenged through in order to be sent for recycling. Manually scavenging through nearly three million trucks worth of garbage is impossible.
The solution is encouraging citizens to segregate the waste before disposing it. But, how do you make sure this is done?
The Waste Samaritan, an initiative by design students in Bangalore, India has possible solution.
The initiative is a ‘door-to-door waste monitoring system’ that encourages residents to segregate their waste material. The winner of the Reimagine Waste hackathon, the initiative partnered with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike in 2017 for a pilot project.
As part of this project, the team monitored 250 households using QR Codes in the Domlur area in the city. Each property was allotted a unique QR Code. Since property was the parameter for allocation of QR Codes, multiple households in a building came under the same QR Code. Thus, a total of 152 QR Codes were allocated to monitor 250 households.
“When we started out, a majority of the 250 households did not segregate properly. Even if they separated paper and plastic as dry waste, they would be putting wet waste in plastic bin liners.” -Wisvesh B.S, part of The Waste Samaritan initiative
Shuchi Mitra App
The initiative uses the Shuchi Mitra app, developed by the civic body to help pourakarmikas (scavengers), take pictures of the waste and also rate the residents.
“If the segregation is good, they get five stars. This also helps raise awareness among residents. For instance, they may have got four stars if they used a plastic bin liner to put wet waste” – Manish Arora, assistant professor at CPDM, IISc
Within three months of its launch, the initiative achieved 75% high quality segregation out of 152 households that were monitored.
“The Shuchi Mitra app will show precisely how much waste is generated and collected from each household. The software is ready and once we get all systems in place such as biometric attendance for pourakarmikas and GPS-enabled collection vehicles, we will be able to launch it in a big way.” -Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP.
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