An Organization Which Champions In Waste Management Is Also Creating Hundreds Of Job Opportunities

Did you know that there is an organization in Bengaluru which is creating jobs at the same time educating people about the waste management and importance of segregating trash and as they do so they are helping in banishing pollution, dengue and lowering greenhouse gas emissions?

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Meet the 56-year-old Founder and CEO of Saahas Zero Waste, Wilma Rodrigues. Wilma who worked as a tour guide for German tourists, loved everything about this country but almost no waste management on the streets saddened her to no end.

The launch of the first-ever Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules in 2000 acted as a major push for Wilma. In a year’s time, she started her own NGO Saahas, to work towards the implementation of those rules. This startup was backed by Indian Angel Networks and Upaya Social Ventures.

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She realized Bengaluru generated about 5,700 tonnes of Municipal Solid waste everyday across its 198 BBMP wards, but sadly people living there had zero knowledge about waste management and segregation of waste into wet waste, dry waste and sanitary waste.

Like most cities in India, people were are not much bothered about what happened to the waste once disposed from their homes. “People have a lot of inertia when to comes to understanding that waste management is just like other essential services such as housekeeping or security and they need to pay a service fee to ensure that their waste is managed scientifically,” shares Vishal Kumar, a Program Manager at Saahas Zero Waste.

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Zero waste being the main motto of this organization, they came up with innovative ideas in order to use all wastes like wet wastes processed into compost and bio-gas. Dry waste such as a mixture of paper, plastics, metal, and glass to be recycled and reused.

Saahas Zero Waste soon started engaging with bulk waste generators like large official buildings, residential complexes, and institutions. They not only provided them with front-end services in terms of setting up the right infrastructure for segregation and processing of waste. Along with this, they also started training the employees/residents and the housekeeping staff.

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They also provided their clients with services like collection of the segregated waste, composting of wet waste onsite, secondary sorting of dry waste and ensuring it reaches the right destination for recycling purposes and last but not least, providing monthly waste disposal reports to its clients.

Shobha Raghava, COO of Sahas Zero Waste says, “The wet waste is either composted on-site or it is collected and sent to our biogas partner. All the dry waste is sorted into 16 categories by our trained field staff and prepared for the recycling industry. For example, the plastics are sorted into around 10 different categories and paper is sorted into over five categories as per the requirement of our recycling partner. There are still certain categories of waste as sanitary waste which cannot and should not be recycled. This material is sent to a government approved site.”

Hard work always pays, in 2013 this organization’s spreadsheet finally turned green i.e. they started making profits.

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Saahas Zero Waste is currently providing dignified livelihood to more than 150 people, consisting of not only people with low academic backgrounds who are required for daily operations but also for qualified, tech-savvy professionals who would help in developing technology for efficient way of disposal of wastes without harming the environment in the process.

Saahas Zero Waste is currently managing over 25 tons of waste per day through composting and recycling, they plan to grow aggressively in the next few years to manage over 300 tons of waste per day across India. With this Wilma hopes to tackle in her small way the growing unemployment in the country. “Over and above, jobs would also be created at the recycling facilities that would need senior managers as well as operators who will run the facilities,” she explains. “Typically, 10-12 people are required per tonne to manage the logistics and processing of the waste.

We hope to see more people like Wilma Rodrigues coming forward to help the country tackle its problems in an efficient way.  

Picture Source: saahaszerowaste.com and Your Story

 

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