The Go Green Hero Stories is a series of snippets of our green champions who have been actively bringing about a sustainable change and contributing to a good cause by composting their wastes and adopting green practices. Our second story is about Dr. Srinivasan Ganesan, a retired BARC Scientist, and an active member of ALM called Better Your Neighbourhood (BYN@88).
Let’s get started!
- Tell us about yourself
Hello! I’m a retired nuclear scientist with a service of 50+ years, and I’m now continued to be involved in consulting activities. Managing wastes efficiently has always been like a hobby, which I enjoyed given my passion and interest in the subject. Even though there was a little hesitation at the start, I’m glad that RUR could help us with a robust waste management solution with the help of CSR Funding. The 50 residents joined in for the success of the project. The Deonar House community is great as we’re mostly scientists, and hence we share good compatibility. Thanks to the waste management, we also receive 5% reduction in property tax. It’s nice to see how our small steps created ripples and had people visit our society to learn about our journey.
My wife, Rajeswari Ganesan enjoys window gardening and we have a beautiful organic farm of around 100 plants. We grow our own ginger, even plants like Kale and some flowers. The campus in itself is luscious with over 70 trees and greenery throughout. This is thanks to the quality compost that we get from the RGGC Units which also help us manage our dried leaves. The excess leaves are stored in containers for future use. We also have E-Waste drives, collecting around 50—150Kg of E-wastes every three months. The journey so far has been exciting!
- Your residential society is a beneficiary of CSR sponsorship to aid the decentralized waste management system, how has this sponsorship helped the society and the BYN@88 community?
The BYN@88 stands for Better Your Neighbourhood, with the “88” corresponding to our postal Pincode 400088. The purpose was to extend this philosophy to other pin code communities across different regions, who would take accountability and manage their own wastes. This is still yet to take shape. Initially, people hesitated as the solution required not only additional financial investments from their end, but also added chores. There were questions such as “why should we have to segregate wastes, make compost, etc. when we’re already paying taxes”. Also, given that we started this project 2 years before the BMC mandate, it was a little difficult to move things forward. However, the team of RUR was great to come down and give demonstrations and raise awareness about the importance of managing wastes in-situ, and the ripple effects of these actions. Moreover, the CSR grant contributed largely to the success of the composting project at the campus. Everyone is very happy with the outcome and being a model society for others to visit and be inspired by!
- Could you talk to us about why segregation is important?
Like I’d mentioned, our campus segregates our wastes now into dry wastes which can be recycled, wet wastes that are used in the bio-composters. We also contacted a vendor for E-waste drives every few months, given that more and more gadgets are being released. Handling all of this effectively is key, which comes with good awareness and education. Segregating wastes helps to handle them easily and preventing them from getting contaminated. This increases the life and value of waste as a resource.
- Could you share your first experience with RUR?
I come from a farmer’s background, so composting has always been a part of my life. However, it goes unsaid how much the processes have changed. Back in my days, people would collect cow dung and Amrut Jal to make manure, but of course, we don’t see that now. Ironically, we used to take bath every time we came back home after stepping outside the house, but now we do it only because of Covid (chuckles). At our campus, when we decided to manage our wet wastes, RUR GreenLife and their solution were chosen over the other 3 companies, thanks to Godrej for the funding. Monisha ma’am’s demonstrations, attention to detail, and support of the RUR team were quite impressive, and we’re so happy to start our composting journey with them. Now that the project is in autopilot mode, I hope that our campus would serve as a source of inspiration for others to take accountability for their wastes and manage them.
- Could you tell us about your green activities under the initiative of ALM and Better your neighborhood @ 88?
BYN@88 got recognized as a part of ALM. It shows exemplary teamwork with enthusiastic members such as Ms. Mishkat Ahmed, Mr. Dharne, Ms. Preeti Takle, and more. It’s a new initiative. We had regular meetings to address issues and share ideas, but a lot of work is still yet to be done. Given the lockdown and COVID, the meetings were paused. We’ve done some work around Deonar dumping ground, with the support of the municipality. I still recall seeing the fire from my car back in the day, when Mumbai was being evacuated. It serves as a reminder that we must all be responsible for our actions, and that it affects the environment.
- What are the challenges you faced implementing the waste management projects in your community, and how did you overcome those?
As I’d mentioned earlier, people are always hesitant towards change. Without being mandated, it’s difficult to convince people to change their ways. We faced some issues when it came to segregating waste at the source. There’s a need for this culture to be inculcated right from the childhood days, as a part of the education system, so that growing up, they understand the importance of handling wastes. Even after the awareness programs and the segregation bins being set up, there were times with wastes ending up in the wrong bin. However, thanks to our secondary segregation done by the staff, we were able to slowly avoid such errors. The housekeeping staff was also motivated as they received additional training for their new duties and increased pay.
- E-waste is a rising challenge. How did your community tackle this?
We had planned to maintain a separate bin for the E-wastes during our segregation planning. Given the exponential increase in the use of electronic gadgets, it’s only natural that E-wastes also become a concern. So we decided to partner up with an E-waste organization, that would pick up our collected E-wastes every few months and that would then go on to be recycled. The money from this activity was donated towards COVID relief. We had also recently had an E-waste drive on World Environment Day which was led by Inner Wheel District 314.
- Any words you’d like to share with our readers?
The Government may tell us how to handle things but individuals shouldn’t wait for mandates to take action. Managing your wastes and recycling helps generate revenue and makes households/communities self-sustainable. We could grow our organic garden and have also switched to a plant-based diet, making our own soy milk and peanut milk!
“A rupee saved is a rupee gained” – Mahatma Gandhi.
I’m confident that everyone is now moving towards the right track, having realized the problem and its importance. Even though the wheel is turning slowly, we’ve to join hands and keep the momentum going!
Strong-Willed. Thoughtful. Kind.
These are the characteristics that our Go Green Hero displays. Team RUR GreenLife salutes you sir!