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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Can Hold a Rake, Will Clean Turahalli Forest - Bengaluru

Using gloves, a truck, dustbins and rakes, they cleared the entrance to the forest of garbage left behind by visitors.

It all started when Padmini Palpatti and her friends went on a trek in the forest last October. A huge mound of garbage stood in their way, while glass bottles, paper plates and cups were scattered everywhere. The garbage was even visible from Oakwood Complex, one of the four buildings in the apartment compound.
Disgusted by what they saw, Padmini, Vidyashree Bhatt, Soumya Kashyap and Venkatesh started a WhatsApp group to hold discussions and find a solution to the problem.
Their first step was to conduct a paper drive to collect funds. As the apartment complex was new, only 30-40 families occupied the houses in the first week of November. “We were able to collect around `1,800, with which we bought four dust bins, gloves, rakes and hired a small vehicle,” says Vidyashree.
During the second and third week of November, the five-member group, along with a few children, cleared three spots in the forest. “The temple in the middle of the jungle is surrounded by garbage. Also, right at the entrance to the forest, close to which our apartment is located, we always find leftovers from picnics and parties,” she explains.
Due to the holiday season in December, they could not make the cleanliness drive a weekly activity. But they managed to do it twice. “We tried to install dustbins in the forest two days back. We went to the paper mart to find something suitable, but we realised that we needed something sturdier. We have decided to consult a mason and install concrete dustbins that won’t get blown away,” she says.
The second paper drive was conducted on January 8. The number of families in the complex had grown to around 70 by then and hence, the group could gather around `3,000.
“Padmini requested the Thalaghattapura police for permission to construct a fence around the forest road to stop people from throwing garbage. But they turned us down saying it would block access to the temple,” Vidyashree says.
At home, the group members make use of organic wet waste converters that decompose household and kitchen waste. “We make sure the waste is collected without using plastic bags, directly from buckets and bins. This is a huge step forward as the plastic can get into the waste,“ says Aarathi Bellary, who is on a committee that was formed last month.
Sobha Forest View Apartments has 800 flats, out of which 400 are booked and 100 are occupied currently. “The organic wet waste converter produces manure that is biologically decomposed by the machine 50 kgs at a time,” she says.
The committee ensures waste segregation at source. Biomedical waste is collected through an authorised vendor. Maradi Eco Group operates in South Bengaluru and incinerates the 50 kg of waste. They give dry waste to Green Trees, an  NGO, which further segregates the waste with the help of differently-abled people.

Source : The New Indian Express, 6th Feb 2016 

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