Why segregate wet waste and dry waste?

Residents of Bangalore, especially ones belonging from the urban part of the city are well aware of how garbage is to be segregated before handing them over to the SWM (Solid Waste Management) of the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike). There are strict rules that have been imposed on the citizens since Bangalore, that was once known as the ‘Garden City’ of India is now claimed as the ‘Garbage City’. The most important reason behind proper waste management is to protect the environment and for the health of the citizens. A balanced system with SWM and abiding by the rules, can help avoid unclean environment and several diseases. 

What is waste segregation?It basically meansto keep the wet and dry waste separately before disposing them so that dry can be recycled and wet waste can be composted. This benefits the environment in several ways. Most of all it gives us a clean environment to live in. In most places the waste that cannot be decomposed are often burnt out leading to air pollution which is a huge reason behind the sudden weather change of the city. A mixed-up garbage stored somewhere near to some location can cause bad smell that can later lead to health issues. 

Apart from all this what occurs most is that people tend to think that every food item or any waste that is wet is known as wet waste and anything apart from that falls under dry waste. What is dry waste? Paper, plastics, metal, glass, rubber, thermocol, Styrofoam, fabric, leather, rexine, wood – anything that can be kept for an extended period without decomposing. In fact, sanitary napkins, food packets all go to dry wastes. Now the question that arises next is, what about the sachets of dairy products? They go to dry wastes too but all sachets of milk, curds, oil, idli batter, any food item, are to be cleaned of all their contents and dried before being put in the dry waste bag. Then they will not stink. If cleaned properly they won’t attract any vermin as well.

Empty pickle and sauce bottles are also to be washed with water properly before they are stored in the dry waste container. Also, if necessary, those bottles can also be reused. If old clothes/ shoes/ handbags/belts/toys are totally unusable, or very damaged, they are still categorised as dry waste. The SMW in Bangalore comes once or twice a week. Therefore, the best method to store dry waste is to store it in a bag in the utility area after cleaning and drying till it is picked up. 

The SMW might collect dry waste once or twice a week, but they collect wet waste daily without any fail. Now what are the things that fall under wet wastes? Wet waste consists of kitchen waste – including vegetable and fruit peels and pieces, tea leaves, coffee grounds, eggshells, bones and entrails, fish scales, as well as cooked food (both veg and non-veg). Wet waste stored for longer days can cause a bad smell and often ends up with worms that grow from that waste. Therefore, it’s better to give away the waste to the BBMP on a daily basis, so that the environment you stay in remains clean and healthy.

Now what most people do is, they put a plastic liner on the bin, so that they don’t have to throw the wet waste directly on the bin nor have to wash the bin on a daily basis. But the BBMP refuses to take waste that is thrown in the plastic bag because the plastic bag belongs to the dry waste. Therefore, throwing waste directly in the bin is the only option which needs to be washed daily. That is how it must be done. The bin can be lined with a newspaper liner or a layer of sawdust if you don’t want to put the wet waste directly into it.

The objective behind such a strict waste management is to develop the country. India is often recognized as a country that is bad sewage and bad waste management systems. If you have noticed in Hollywood or any other foreign movies, India is referred as a place with slums and poor waste management despite India being a country with more urban areas than rural. But the main objective behind this strict waste management is to keep the environment clean and therefore it’s citizens healthy. Indians have this old habit of spitting on the roads and peeing on the side of the streets or even throwing garbage just outside their houses. This has what built a bad notion about the country and its famous city and citizens in the minds of the foreigners who come to visit the country. 

Just a few simple steps with the waste management can help in improving the environment and bring back the garden city of India that was once the reason why everyone loved Bangalore. Keep the dry waste and the wet waste separate. Do not mix up the wastes or else they will not be accepted, and steep fines can be levied on households that will not abide by the rules of BBMP. 

Just like when all fingers join and become a fist which makes them stronger, similarly, if we work together we can make earth a better place to live in because together we all can bring the change.

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