It is not every day that you hear of of a municipal waste dumping ground that is a tourist attraction. But in Vengurla talukha a half hour drive from India’s tourist hub of Goa, it’s not just the pristine beaches that are drawing people .
In 2017 so far, the municipal waste dumping ground , where every piece of waste is recycled , has received 7000 visitors . They’re traveling to see how the small municipality is recycling 7 tonnes of waste generated each day and transforming their community . It is earning a hefti income, which is being ploughed back into municipal activities.
In 2015,under the watchful eye of Ramdas ko kara , the chief officer of vengurla municipality , the hamlet began a process of transforming how it dealt with its waste. The municipal council began segregating waste at source. Plastic bags were banned and door to door compaigns urged households to begin separating , teaching them how . Today all 3000 households separate waste in upto four different coloured bins . Municipal collecters pick up waste six days a week and transport it to the municipal dumping ground.
Waste is not a problem , says “kokare” It is a mixed waste that is the challenge , he adds vengurla has demonstrated the managing waste can be good business.
Virtually every other type of waste is recycled. A briquette machine helps process dey waste such as, cloth ,paper,cardboard, into briquettes, which are sold to nearby industries as alternate fuels for boilers. Heavy plastic is sold to cement factories where it is melted at 3000 degreesdegrees Celsius. The municipal council found considerable support in the private sector with banks and insurance companies in the area chipping to replace plastic with cloth carry bags , and providing waste collecting vehicles.
As the country steps up efforts to clean India,initiatives such as those in vengurla are demonstrating that a combination of awareness , innovation and partnerships can go a long way in transforming waste to wealth.