Written by Kritika Gogte
Swach — the cooperative of wastepickers in Pune — recently inaugurated a segregation shed at Hirvai Cycle Track on Prabhat Road. The association has decided to construct 35 new segregation sheds in the city for better management of waste. Sarthak Tapasvi, a representative of Swach, said they already have 65 such sheds and were aiming for 100 — one shed at each ward.
As the name suggests, the shed is used by wastepickers for segregation of dry and wet waste. Once segregated, the dry waste is divided into recyclable and non-recyclable garbage. The Hirvai Cycle Track project is of paramount importance to facilitate a good waste management system. However, Swach has not been able to carry on with this work smoothly, because it has been getting mixed responses for a while, with some giving it the cold shoulder. Concerns have been raised about the general cleanliness of the area where waste segregation will take place.
Anita Jadhav, a resident of the area, was completely against starting the project at the cycle track. “There would be mosquitoes, stray dogs and pigs. This can harm us. If not managed properly, it could create a lot of problems… we would prefer if the project didn’t take place at all,” she said. Some, however, are still hopeful that, if managed properly, the shed may be helpful.
Harshad Parde, a representative of the body, stated that the suggestion to build such a sorting shed had come from the residents, around 10 years ago. “We understand why people are against our work, because it is only the wet waste lying in the garbage cans outside the shed that people can see, and that is mainly what attracts the rodents and emits the foul odour. There are always both people who don’t support us and people who help, but in this area, people are quite supportive. We have received a lot of support from the mohalla committees,” said Parde.
The waste segregation programme was introduced in 2005. Swach had signed a contract with the Pune Municipal Corporation in 2008. The aim was to increase the amount of recyclable dry waste, and reduce the waste being dumped in the landfills. The project also provides the means of earning for women who work as wastepickers.
Swach claims to recycle 170-200 tonnes of waste from the 1,600 tonnes generated daily, and continues to provide an efficient waste management system to the city, serving at least 6,00,000 houses daily.