Last month I took my first trip to Delhi. I must say, I was surprised by the level of trash (compared to Bengaluru) on the streets. I also liked the tricycle carts used for carrying both recyclables and mixed waste to their destination. There were lots of bins around town, though all that I saw had mixed waste inside in spite of what signs said on the outside. I’m not sure if this is because the signs are only ever in English (in any city I’ve visited), which may not be readable to most people who might use them. Or if it is because people are still not educated about what goes where. And often times there are only a couple of bins so how to deal with the various categories one might have on the street?
This is city waste on the street. But I also noticed that there is a problem in most people’s homes. Friends’ homes I visited don’t seem to be set up for doing any kind of segregation, let alone merely separating wet, organic waste from dry, possibly recyclable waste. This is still the single most important step one can take. But judging from the space issues of Delhi apartments, I can understand why people might think that they just don’t have enough space to do it.
A lot of Delhi-ites live in apartment complexes of some sort or another. Or they live in small gated communities or areas that can easily band together to start a composting programme. They can use the compost they produce to garden in the parks that are so central to many of their little subdivisions. The Daily Dump has a partnership with several shops in the Delhi area (including a few in Haryana) that can make starting the process of composting, and thereby separating wet and dry waste, much easier. There’s: SMP Greenworks in Dwarka, Shivani Organics in Kengeri Satellite Town, Samidha Bansal in Rana Pratap Bagh and in Greater Kailash, Rozita Singh in Jasola, Bhoomi Arpan in Dwarka, Arun B. Satyawakta in Vasant Kunj, and Ahaan in Timarpur. Any of these enterprises can be contacted by going to the Daily Dump’s store locator page (this link) and you can find their full address and phone number. After that, you just need to get your very own kambha, some remix powder (to keep the smell at bay) and you’re all set.
That’s the first and most important step: composting, segregating your wet and dry waste. If you feel inspired to do more in Delhi there are other organisations that make it quite easy to do so. First, you can clean and segregate your plastics, glass, metal, and paper. Then download the Pom Pom app. Register with them and use the app to let them know when you want them to pick up your recyclables and pay you for them. It’s incredibly easy and convenient. It’s like a kabadiwalla on wheels. You can also just give them a call if you prefer to talk to a human first. There are other companies that can come collect your waste for you, many of them are listed here. For e-waste, it seems one must go to a collection centre, but there are many of them around the city.
Finally, one of the coolest reuse programmes I found in Delhi is the Toy Bank. It collects old toys that your children longer play with, refurbishes them, and gives them to children who don’t have any toys.