One of India’s largest real estate conglomerates, Embassy Group, has partnered with the Bettahalasur Panchayat as part of its flagship environment initiative EcoGram to build a dry and wet waste collection centre benefiting 18 villages which are part of Bengaluru North Suburb.
Aditya Virwani, COO at Embassy Group; Pradeep Lala, CEO and Managing Director, Embassy Services; Myriam Shankar, Managing Trustee – The Anonymous Indian Charitable Trust (TAICT); and panchayat officials performed the ‘bhoomi pooja’ for the project on Thursday.
The Bettahalasur panchayat has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Embassy Group and TAICT, allocating two acres of land dedicated to collection and segregation of dry and wet waste.
According to a statement, over 268 tonnes of dry waste and 289 tonnes of wet waste are collected and disposed of in the area, reaching a segregation level of 92 per cent at source.
“The collected organic waste is then converted into compost, and the recyclable waste is sorted within the gram panchayat. The Embassy Group currently funds the day-to-day operations at the cost of around Rs 60 lakh annually, including door-to-door waste collection, utilities, equipment for waste segregation, the salaries of the staff and vehicles,” the statement said.
Myriam Shankar said that it was truly an uphill task to implement waste management in a locality, which never saw a dustbin, let alone three-way segregation at source.
“We undertook several intensive awareness campaigns among all the stakeholders, be they local government representatives, villagers or commercial establishments. It requires setting up solid operations of men, machinery and infrastructure,” she explained.
She added that in addition to creating employment for the marginalised communities, the new dry and wet waste collection centre will provide required infrastructure to process the waste of two panchayats in the future.
The statement released by the Embassy Group stated that the Bettahalasur panchayat had requested the group to build the dry and wet waste collection centre with a greater capacity for gathering and sorting waste of 18 villages in both the Bettahalasur and Meenakunte panchayats.
“With the current operations spread across eight villages in the Bettahalasur panchayat benefiting 1,811 households and 10 bulk generators, Embassy has invested Rs 2.25 crore over the last four years towards the de-centralised solid waste collection, reaching a segregation level of 92 per cent at source,” the statement said.
Rajeswari, a resident of Tarahunise village, pointed out that her village looks very clean with little to no garbage on the streets.
“Earlier, however, the situation was very different. There used to be garbage everywhere, there was no systemic way to dispose of the waste. TAICT and Embassy came together to initiate daily collection of waste from every household and got us to separate our dry and wet waste, as well as provide us with buckets and bags for segregation. Due to their commitment, we have become a model village now,” she explained.