When garbage heads to Mandur, thousands lose jobs

Waste entrepreneurs in City have proved the huge employment potential

When garbage heads to Mandur, thousands lose jobs

 For years, Hariprasad had harboured hopes of becoming an entrepreneur. He finally found an opportunity in the city’s mounting garbage problem.

Taking the operations contract for an Organic Waste Converter (OWC) installed in a private institution, he scaled up, eventually turning employer. Today, he employs over 16 people in dignified, hygienic environments to convert tonnes of wet waste into nutrients-rich manure. The message is clear: Truckloads of wet waste needn’t head to Mandur to create hell for the residents there.

The waste could be the best resource for employment generation. Yes, waste entrepreneurs in the City have proved that hundreds, if not thousands, could get jobs through localised garbage treatment units. Revenues could flow from umpteen OWC contracts, sale of manure and compost units. The OWCs set up in apartments had shown Hariprasad that every 200 kg of wet waste generated in a complex would require at least one waste handler.

“On an average, at least one kilogram of wet waste is generated in a flat. In a complex with 400 to 500 flats, up to 600 kg of manure could be produced in 10 days. Scale this up and you could give jobs to thousands,” he explained to Deccan Herald.

Pottery jobs 

But the jobs go beyond waste segregators, collectors, transporters and OWC operators. The Indiranagar-based startup, Daily Dump works with hundreds of potters and their families to bring out the Khamba pots, used for composting.

“We also work with fabricators, roto-moulders and people who can service the composting units. We also engage the Kabadiwallahs, who collect the waste, offering a dignified way to make money from waste,” said Poonam from the six-year-old organisation.

Anselm Rozario had learnt years ago that segregation was not a one-step process. Separated from wet waste, the dry waste had to undergo further segregation through a systematic process.

This required jobs, plenty of them. Rozario elaborated: “We recognised that there were eight categories of paper, 18 categories of plastic and many more of glass waste, 70 types in all! Processing them need people. Today, most garbage is just being thrown into the landfills.” 

Dignified labour

Rozario’s Waste Wise Trust is now actively engaged in the city’s waste management process, promoting citizen participation in civic cleanliness, waste segregation, waste minimization, recycling and works towards the development of people involved in waste picking activities. 

Actively working with the waste pickers, the Trust was instrumental in co-founding the Hasiru Dala, an initiative to transform the lives of waste pickers. The idea is to help them divert waste from landfills, recycle resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The workers could then be identified as “green workers,” enjoying benefits of social security and improved working conditions.

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