Garbage in the city has been plaguing the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for months now, and the civic body has finally decided to take action against at least some part of it.
PMC’s environment department has come up with a concept ‘From Waste to Best’, in which plastic paraphernalia found in the city’s garbage will be recycled to make useful items.
The team is using plastic bottles, paint cans, remnants of fax rolls or pipes to create objects like bird feeders, pen stands, floating candles etc.
“Even though it won’t take care of all the plastic waste generated, it will be of great help for biodiversity. Once more people start adopting these methods, more of the plastic waste will be re-used,” said Mangesh Dighe, PMC’s environment officer. The bird-feeders and water bowls are such that they fill up the dish when the level goes down, with the help of atmospheric pressure, which also prevents overflow.
Dighe added that modern construction has left no gaps for sparrows to build their nests. “Plastic containers can serve as space for sparrows to make their nests. However there have to be some sparrows in the area for this to work,” he said, referring to the dwindling numbers of this tiny bird.
The method to create these ‘nests’ was taught to PMC officials by a nature enthusiast from Indapur. Hailing from Nimgaon Ketaki, around 10 km from Indapur, Arjun Jadhav collects plastic bottles from neighbours and hotels to make nests and feeders. “I have seen sparrows using these artificial nests. This has not only reduced the waste, but also helped sparrows in our areas,” Jadhav said.
According to Suresh Jagtap, head of PMC’s solid waste management, plastic counts for 12 per cent of the total garbage generated by the city. Of this, 10 per cent comprises bottles and cans. The remaining are mainly polythene bags and other kinds of wrapping.
Some days ago, the Tellus Organisation had even made benches of this plastic waste, a prototype of which can be seen on Taljai hill. Lokesh Bapat, founder of the NGO, said, “Every day, around 375 tonnes of plastic waste accumulates, of which only 30 to 40 per cent can be recycled. The rest has no place to go. When I made the benches, to make the bottles sturdy enough to bear weight, I stuffed them with plastic bags which cannot be recycled. If people take up such initiatives, the problem of disposing plastic waste could be brought under control.”
PMC also plans to hold a summer camp in May for children, and teach them to recycle plastic waste. The civic body has also asked people to come forward with such bottles and cans, which they can turn into other items and help in reducing pollution.
Lauding the civic body’s efforts, ornithologist Dr Pramod Patil said, “This concept is common in foreign countries. Having such feeders and water pots for birds is extremely useful, especially for garden birds, more so in the rising heat. This will also create awareness among children about nature conservation and birdwatching. However, this should be a sustained effort and the feeders and pots should be maintained. PMC should also brand the initiative and collaborate with the bigger residential societies.”