Sustainability


Then I saw a similar program elsewhere and was convinced that the Bagchi home should not be sending any wet garbage – food, fruit and vegetable peels and such things to the municipal system.

In my last blog, I told you that I would soon be writing about my tryst with sustainability.

It all started with the problem of wet-waste segregation at the household level. For the last thirteen years, I have been battling the issue of garbage strewn across the road from where we live and have been telling myself that I must learn how to compost and not send wet-garbage from our household. IPrincess Laurentien of Netherlandf every household learns how easy and inexpensive it is to convert wet waste into organic compost, we would only send out dry waste which is mostly recyclable. The trigger to learn more came a couple of years back when my friend Professor Desiree Van Gorp at Nyenrode Universiteit in Amsterdam took me by surprise oneday, asking me if we could host Princess Laurentien of Netherland. The Princess, an environmental activist and author herself, wanted to go on a garbage trail to understand how a city like Bangalore handles her garbage. She wanted to come without official protocol and see the garbage collection and disposal system, incognito. So, with help from friend Kalpana Kar who had been hugely active in the erstwhile BATF movement, we put together a day’s work for the princess.

Princess LaurentienShe started the day looking at how a pourakarmika picks up garbage from a household and then she followed it till the end of the day – in the course she saw how it was aggregated, how rag pickers lived and made a living out of sifting through garbage and by the time the day ended, she went to see the largest wholesale market of recyclable material in the city where millions are made from the cork, the bottle, the carton and everything else your and my household Recyclable Materialdump. During the Princess visit that happened without the government and the Press knowing (see her crowned photo above and contrast that with the two showing her trailing garbage here!) we visited a vermipost based composting system set up within an apartment complex in Malleswaram that sends zero-waste, thanks to a group of great women who have a determined initiative to recycle. Then I saw a similar program elsewhere and was convinced that the Bagchi home should not be sending any wet garbage – food, fruit and vegetable peels and such things to the municipal system. Only dry, recyclable things should go that may benefit someone.

With my guest Princess LaurentienThe search for information and help to create an appropriate system took me to a fascinating woman named Poonam Vir Kasturi who has founded The Daily Dump. “Daily Dump is a brand, a service, a set of products and a way of life that we hope people begin to subscribe to”, is what Poonam’s site tells you. She is a graduate from the National Institute of Design andPooname Bir Kasturi has now given her life to building innovative products and services that make it easy for us to convert waste into usefulness. Daily Dump folks provide you the accessories and the knowledge to learn how to make your own composting system that converts all the wet garbage into organic manure.

After we installed an amazingly simple, three-chamber earthen pot based recycling system, Poonam’s team showed us how to use it and for the last three months, not an ounce of wet garbage has gone from our home and in the process, we are making compost with which our garden is happier than ever before.

While I was looking for the composting solution, BV Suresh, my colleague at work, asked me to think of rain water harvesting and also gave me the idea of building a fertilizer and pesticides-free vegetable garden on the rooftop. Both these ideas have been engaging my mind for a very long time but I had no idea where to seek the right resources.

This is when, thanks to Suresh, I met two outstanding young entrepreneurs: Sunil from Hinren Technologies that makes renewable energy systems and Mallesh of Purna Organics.

Like Harish Hande thinks only of solar, Sunil dreams only of renewable resources. Sunil from Hinren TechnologiesOne of the things his company builds is custom-designed rain water harvesting systems for homes and commercial establishments. The professionalism with which Sunil and team went about conducting the feasibility, the way they wrote the proposal and explained the options — left me highly impressed. I was telling myself all the while, if only every sector of the economy was as professional as the Hinren team. But the biggest surprise for me was waiting the day the Hinren folks started digging on the ground in the back of the house to build an underground tank. The workers who were digging the ground and subsequently did all the physical work, wore the same Hinren branded T-Shirt that Sunil wears; they had hard-hat all the time and everyone wore good shoes. How I wish our large construction companies treated their workforce the same way! Thanks to Sunil and his team, today, we do not discharge even a drop of rain water into the city drains. After every couple of heavy rains, we have a month’s supply of water that can be used for a variety of needs. When you have the time, you must visit www.hinren.com to learn about the great work Sunil and company are doing.

Mallesh of Purna Organics was a software engineer at Wipro and trained Mallesh of Purna Organicsas a Six Sigma expert. While he did well for himself in the IT world, his real passion has been organic farming, and one day, he quit his job to devote himself full-time to setting up his own organic farm. He started one near Mysore, learning everything from scratch until he figured it all out. But not stopping at creating his own, Mallesh used his understanding of organic farming, innovation and knowledge of Six Sigma, to start an adjacent business: building rooftop vegetable gardens for people. It is amazing what you can do, given a tiny space on your rooftop! Can you imagine, a 48 square-feet patch is able to help the Bagchi household raise 70% of all the vegetables we need? We grow spinach, bittergourd, chilly, coriander, radish, lettuce, tomatoes. We can’t eat them all, so we freeze them for a rainy day and of course give them away to friends when we have just too much.

Poonam, Sunil and Mallesh could have been anything they wished in life. Brilliant, hardworking, innovative and honest. I am glad that they have chosen the path less trodden so that others may follow someday. These are three entrepreneurs for whom I have the greatest respect and hope that some of you will have the privilege of meeting them someday. Thanks to these three entrepreneurs, I feel more responsible to MotherEarth.

Princess checking the Garbage Collection by PourakarmikasNear the Ragpickers colony

Wet Waste Segregation

Recyclable MaterialMaking Millions from the Garbage Princess Laurentien

Comments
Ashish Pal Says
Wednesday August 3rd 2011

This is truly inspiring, sir. Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope the message keeps spreading.

Cheers!
Ashish

Susmita Says
Wednesday August 3rd 2011

Inspiring story of individuals with a zeal to make a palpable difference to some of the pressing issues of urban living. In my experience, I have found Kerala to be one of the most conscientious states in this respect where separating organic and inorganic waste at source, i.e., from individual households,a government initiative.
Thanks for sharing.

Friday August 5th 2011

Dear Sir,

This is just a sheer example of how an individual’s sincere efforts and ingenuity brings firm economical viable solution for recovery of the organic waste by the disposal system of organic waste and that too in the nation’s interest.

Regards,

Ulhas Pradhan

    Julissa Says
    Thursday August 11th 2016

    Nimeni nu credea ca in Romania este bine. La noi este mai bine decat in toate aceste tari bogate si exe.mmisterFeteia care a scris cartea a suferit destul de mult si nu inteleg ce naiba fac toate organizatile de protectia omului. etc ?Eu stiu engleza dar s-ar putea altii sa nu stie. Dublarile se fac si se vor face doar pentru desene animate.De ce? Nu din cauza ca unii nu vor sau ca se pierde nu stiu ce farmec.Totul are logica economica iar oamenii nu se vor duce la cinema la filme dublate.

    Wednesday September 7th 2016

    That’s really thinking at a high level

    Saturday September 10th 2016

    (love these)BEEF JERKY :) and trail mix.weights weights weightsBLENDER!!alas, no.get moving. today. anything. even one minute (literally) of walking. Just dont wait another day.

belifal Says
Friday August 5th 2011

wish even 10% of housing societies would adopt rain water harvesting or waste management in a educated populated financial capital of India…Mumbai

Tuesday August 9th 2011

Mr.Bagchi, thanks for posting this. I have been toying with the idea of working on segregating dry and wet waste at my house and also introducing it to the households in my locality. Your writeup will now definitely act as a catalyst and I hope to act on this quickly! Thank you!

Beena Says
Wednesday August 10th 2011

Hi Subroto, This is a lovely story of a Princess which let us meet three ‘Gems’ of modern India.

Thank you for sharing such inspiring stories!

Daily Dump has changed how we manage our household wet garbage since past few years and their composting system is very easy to use. Our garden is one of the best one in our neighbourhood as all the plants get nutritious soil from the Daily Dump composter system. I wish more households start adopting it. :)

Regards,
Beena

Padmavani Says
Wednesday August 10th 2011

Hello Subroto

After being constantly bombarded with news about ongoing scandals, scams and all imaginable negative, depressing stuff about this country, it is so refreshing to read this. I will be sharing this on FB.

Best
Padmavani

Anjana Sasi Says
Tuesday August 16th 2011

Sir,
It is very inspiring.. thank u so much..
sir, i have one doubt in your book The professional..
It is such a wonderful book that surely inspire young professionals.. and after reading that i really realised i am not at all a good professional. but from that day i decided to be a real professional…
and my doubt is..
in its 5th part, chapter 3 Multiple intelligences (p-155) you said there are Eight other forms of intelligence. In the same part, in another chapter named The five minds of the future (p.165)the chapter is starting by this sentence Our brain is the repository of nine intelligence. could you please clarify my doubt through a mail if you can.. i dont have your mail id. thats why am posting it here.
thanking you
Anjana Sasi

sunil jogdeo Says
Friday August 19th 2011

So inspiring. it shows very clearly that even if we just try to think of very small n simple things around us, there can be some thing big coming up in future. Thank you very much for sharing this experience.

Rakshatha Says
Thursday September 15th 2011

Hi Subro,
The article is truly inspiring. Infact my kitchen garden has grown lush and green with the daily compost that it has been getting past 7years. We have grown Carrots, Papaya, Radish, a few corn plants, tomatoes, brinjal to name a few. Another advantage of using the organic Compost is that the veggies and fruits taste better than that available in the markets. Thanks a Lot for writing it up.

Venugopala Says
Saturday September 17th 2011

Inspiring Sir…Thank you very much for sharing

srikanth bhargava Says
Thursday October 20th 2011

sir,
thank you for sharing the knowledge.
I wish to build up on the lead and improve my surroundings also.
warm regards
srikanth

Marolla Meneaud Says
Thursday November 1st 2012

It is such a shame that the once upon a time Garden City is now a Garbage city. Despite the disgusting visuals and negativity on the part of the BBMP which time and again is featured on the News channels, there seems to be a microscopic improvement. Thanks for this awareness and if we all subscribe to this and conscientiously work towards it, we could heal the city of this menace.

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