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  Using waste to turn lives around

Using waste to turn lives around

Published : Jan 25, 2016, 9:20 pm IST
Updated : Jan 25, 2016, 9:20 pm IST

Raaginii Jaain has been campaigning for cleanliness drive from long before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched.

Raaginii Jaain has been campaigning for cleanliness drive from long before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched. Ms Jaain had started plastic waste collection, segregation and recycling in the plush area of Juhu Vile-Parle Development (JVPD) in 2003. It’s the first Private-Public Partnership model in India in waste management supported by K-West Ward of MCGM. Working on no profit-no loss, Ms Jaain’s Geetanjali Envirotech has given employment to more than 150 to 200 former beggars who are earning at least Rs 15,000 per month.

Originally from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Ms Jaain (57) later shifted to Bengaluru and then Mumbai during the course of her career. According to Ms Jaain, after moving to Mumbai in 2003, she saw solid waste and nullah full of plastic waste in plush area of JVPD, and approached ‘K’ ward officer of BMC in 2003 and asked for permission to collect waste.

“Initially, nobody was ready to allow me as collecting waste and dump it at specific allotted area is the work allotted to some contractors and the contractors was not ready to allow me to interfere in their ‘business’” said Ms Jaain. “You may understand the power of contractor lobby,” she said.

“But there are a few good ward officers and additional commissioners who help me and allotted a land in JVPD at the corner of Road 7,” she said.

Though Ms Jaain’s depot is huge and one can see women in the campus segregating the wastage into wet and dry, one can’t feel the bad odour associated with wastage.

Ms Jaain said she had developed her own special chemical, after research and development, in order to control the odour. She added that if she could not control the bad odour, residents from this posh area would not allow her to conduct this business.

At the JVPD depot, the green waste is converted into organic manure in specially designed bio-bins and bio-degradable waste is converted into eco-friendly organic compost. All collections are done by waste pickers and sweepers. This workforce is trained to collect and recycle the plastic and green waste by itself.

Ms Jaain specialises in training labourers, waste pickers, beggars and jobless transgenders for the job of collection and waste recycling. Laxmi, a 70-year-old woman at Ms Jaain’s depot said, “I was a beggar, Ms Jaain picked me and offered a job with her. Now I earn Rs 15,000 per month.”

Ms Jaain and her company functions on the m,oney that they earn from selling compost to both companies and individuals.