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Waste Segregation: Too difficult for urban households?

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By Sanket Jain

The onset of summer and the lack of initiatives by educated families will cut short the hope of a bright future for the rag pickers in Pune city.

The rag pickers from Aundh area of Pune claim that the lack of initiatives by urban societies has created a threat to their existence.

When asked to segregate the waste into wet waste and dry waste, most of the urban households rejected the idea and dumped the waste without any in-house segregation.

Enraged by the callousness, the waste pickers started complaining and, in response, most of the urban societies of Aundh and Baner area in Pune started dumping their garbage in the private trucks.

The retaliatory move by the households came as a lethal blow to the waste pickers. The action cost the employment of most of the waste pickers.

The rag pickers have to undergo severe torment to segregate the waste. On researching, it was found that most of the rag pickers did not even have proper gloves and boots required for the segregation. Unhygienic conditions coupled with the lack of immediate action by the educated people have added to their problems. The menace has imperiled the lives of the rag pickers and most of them are suffering from some disease.

In the city of Pune, more than 5000 rag pickers are involved and all of them have the same problem.

The government and the ward members seem unavailing. One of the rag pickers from the Baner area claimed that the educated people should not play politics, at least when it comes to garbage.

Waste Segregation, if not undertaken properly, can have devastating effects ranging from deaths to an outbreak of epidemics.

Waste Segregation was made mandatory by the Supreme Court and Government of India Gazette dated 3rd October 2001 under the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Handling rules 2000.

Next Story

One-man Campaign to Collect Plastic Waste which Pollutes River

Now, at 32, he has given up his job to move back there permanently to collect plastic waste which pollutes its waters

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Campaign, Plastic, Waste
Bence Pardy, 32, carries plastic bags full of waste in Tiszafured, Hungary, Oct. 1, 2019. VOA

Bence Pardy spent his summers as a child by Hungary’s second main river, the Tisza. Waste.

Now, at 32, he has given up his job to move back there permanently to collect plastic waste which pollutes its waters.

The Tisza, one of the main rivers in eastern Europe, starts in Ukraine and flows across Hungary to join the Danube in Serbia. It then flows eastwards to empty into the Black Sea.

Over the past three months, working all day on his own from a small motorboat, Pardy has collected by hand plastic bottles from the river and its floodplains to fill 466 huge binbags.

Campaign, Plastic, Waste
Plastic waste is seen on the River Tisza near Tiszafured, Hungary, Oct. 1, 2019. VOA

In many places there are floating waste islands made up of plastic bottles already overgrown with lush vegetation.

“We used to have a house in a nearby small village and came here for the summers. There was no waste at that time… there wasn’t this craze for plastic plates and forks,” Pardy said, picking empty bottles and plastic bags from the grass and trees hanging over the slow-moving river.

He worked as a waiter in Budapest before he moved to Tiszafured, a town nearby, and now lives in a small caravan. As his money was running out, he launched a social media campaign to raise funds for the project.

During another large-scale initiative, which he also joined, volunteers removed more than 11 tons of waste from the Tisza this summer, Pardy said.

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The waste, which also includes refrigerators, car parts and even hazardous items such as needles, is mostly washed downstream from Ukraine during flooding from the waste dumps there, he said.

“I was so shocked by this that I could not continue doing and enjoying my job and now here I am,” said Pardy.

“My sad experience is that I see anglers or the people who come for holidays and they just walk past the rubbish, and even when it is at arm’s length, they don’t pick it from the river. I am astonished to see such negligence.”

Pardy said he was determined to continue what he started.

Campaign, Plastic, Waste
Bence Pardy drives his motorboat on the River Tisza near Tiszafured, Hungary, Oct. 1, 2019. VOA

“We are getting all the warning signs, and we still do not want to change. I think we are heading into an abyss at high speed… We believe we can separate ourselves from nature, and that our actions have no consequences.”

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“I am trying to be an optimist, and yes, there are all kinds of efforts, but this is still way too little.” (VOA)