The Hindu - 4/4/2002 - Will short film do the trick for BMP?

In a short film previewed here on Tuesday, probably the first of its kind with a Pourakarmika as its hero, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike will be seen appealing to citizens to segregate wastes, and help manage the 3,000 tonne-a-day of solid waste generated efficiently and in an eco-friendly manner.

The 11minute film, Nagara Nyrmalya has Santhimmi, a Pourakarmika, essayed by writer-journalist Prathibha Nandakumar, exhorting residents such as Ramesh and Vysali Kasaravalli to segregate their solid waste, and join the recycle and reuse fellowship. G.S. Bhaskar of Grassroots media has directed the short film.

       The film is an interesting by-product of a project undertaken in Basavangudi (Health ward 49B) two years ago by ESG. The ESG’s coordinator, Leo Saldanha, undertook the solid waste management training initiative in collaboration with the human health and well being division of the U.N Environment Programme, as a pilot project. It was aimed at developing capacities of Pourakarmikas of one health ward in BMP to evolve a sustainable strategy for management of community-level Municipal solid waste.

          As part of this programme, ESG undertook an evaluation of the working conditions of the Pourakarmikas, and now the scope of the project has expanded to become the basis of intervention in Bangalore and other cities too, Mr. Saldanha says.

“What a waste!” is a project of the Environment Support Group, sponsored by the Indo Norwegian Environment, with cooperation and assistance from the state forest ecology and environment department. This flip chart lists simple ways to tackle what seems a huge problem, and for Pourakarmikas, it is the medium through which they can establish a rapport with the residents of the ward, which they have to keep clean.

        The benefits of segregation, the flip chart informs, are many. As Santhimmi says in the film, using machines to do this job is not possible, for unlike man, they do cannot think or use their brains. Manure and recycled paper, and hygienic disposal of medical and toxic wastes are the rewards of simple measures like having separate bins for different kinds of waste.

         And, both the film and the flip chart exhort Bangaloreans to ponder this: BMP’s 11,300 Pourakarmikas and a few hundred vehicles have to clear and transport over 3,000 tonnes of solid waste daily. And over 80 per cent of the household waste can be recycled and reused. The segregated, non-reclaimable waste goes to the compost development corporation for further biodegradation and mass production of vermin compost, and dispatching other recyclable material to the respective recycling units.

             This is the lesson that Vyshali Kasarvalli, who is not particularly bothered about segregating waste, and would rather enjoy a film featuring her hero, Ramesh in it, learns, for Santhimmi is on TV, on behalf of the Pourakarmikas, waging a reproachful finger at the viewers for throwing away the pamphlets with hints on segregation.