Mumbai: Parsi youths, elderly support waste plant idea

Updated: Feb 01, 2018, 19:06 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

Around 66 members of the community have come forward to support the Bombay Parsi Punchayet proposal to set up a waste compost plant at Ambawadi, near the Tower of Silence

Dumping ground
Dumping ground

The proposal to set up a waste compost plant in Ambawadi, Malabar Hill, which is close to the Tower of Silence, met with stiff resistance from the city's Parsi community, recently. However, a week after Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) Trustee Kersi Randeria proposed the plan, around 66 people from several Parsi colonies have come forward to support the cause and spread awareness about waste segregation.

If approved, waste collected from 10 Parsi colonies will be treated at the plant. But, several members of the community objected to the idea of garbage collection near their place of worship. Now, 66 community members -- comprising the elderly as well as youths -- have signed up to volunteer with BPP in order to ensure a cleaner city. These members plan to visit their respective housing societies to help create awareness about the need for waste segregation. The move also acquires significance in the backdrop of the BMC's orders to housing societies to take up the responsibility of segregating dry and wet garbage on their own premises.

Darius BamjiDarius Bamji

Mission cleanliness
Speaking to mid-day, Darius Bamji, 68, said, "Earlier, in our colony, we used to drop garbage bags down the chute and sweepers of municipality workers would collect it. But now, the sweepers come to our doorstep to collect the garbage bags. It's up to residents to segregate the waste beforehand and hand over the bags accordingly. It's a really simple process. Once the permission for transportation of garbage from the colonies to the plant site is acquired by the BPP, the project will become our baby."

Recollecting the Deonar garbage dump fire and smoke incident, Bamji added, "We were one of the many families who were severely affected during the fire and smoke incident at the Deonar garbage dump. Smog from the dump yard choked us for more than two weeks. We couldn't dare to keep our windows open, especially during the night hours. Our religion tells us that we should not contaminate air, water or the land. We should try and ensure that kind of pollution does not take over the city again."

Media professional Spenta Patel, a resident of Khareghat Parsi colony in Dadar, said she has signed up for the campaign because cleanliness is the need of the hour. "Composting is better for the environment and has many benefits, so, why not encourage it? We have just started assembling on the issue. We will decide soon how to take this ahead."

Who pays?
But, not all sections of the community are pleased with the idea of building a waste compost plant near their Tower of Silence. Structural engineer Jamshed Sukhadwalla said, "I wonder if the project of building the waste plant at Doongerwadi is being raked up to divert the attention of community members. Many of us are worried about a tunnel of Metro Line III being built under the premises of our two Atash Behram. What we want to know is, if the plant is installed, will the BMC transport and deliver the waste from the colonies to the disposal site or will BPP need to take up that responsibility? Who will bear the cost of running the plant? Have they [the BPP] taken our community into confidence before sanctioning Rs 50 lakh for the project? There are too many questions that have been left unanswered."

The BPP outreach

On January 14 and January 21, trustees Kersi Randeria and Viraf Mehta, along with their team members, visited 10 city baugs to find out more about the process of waste disposal in those areas. As part of their visits, they approached residents and sought their help in waste segregation. According to data from the BPP, 66 people volunteered to help in the case.

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