After seeing local garbage collection in action, and visiting kabbadiwallas sorting their products, we visited the Jolly Mohalla Wholesale Market – the scale of which has to be seen to be believed. Families have been in business here for 50 years and competition is fierce.
Connections over Chai is an interview series that I am starting soon at Spinning the Green Wheel. I will delve into the passions and careers of professionals working to solve the world’s environmental and social issues – be they environmental scientists, policy practitioners, NGO specialists or sustainability consultants.
The environmental sector is not without its stereotypes, and I hope to shatter some of those by featuring inspiring people from all over the world who have diverse backgrounds and experience. From teachers, architects and investment bankers; to community development workers, lawyers and professors.
We will find out all about…
How they got into the environmental or social sector
What is most fulfilling about their current role
Which experiences have shaped their worldview today
How living and working overseas has changed their approach to work
Where they see themselves in the next 5 years
What advice they would give to people wanting to work in the sector
How they “do their bit” environmentally
Are you passionate about the environment or curious about working in the environmental sector? Or just interested to read some fascinating stories from people living boldly? Then look out for the first Connections over Chaiinterview in coming weeks!
Also, please get in touch with me at jenny (at) spinningthegreenwheel.com if you know someone with unique experiences they would be willing to share. Thanks!
Have you ever wondered what happens to your waste once you throw it out?
Waste is an issue that has fascinated me since I arrived in India about 6 months ago. Although waste is often very visible on the streets here, I had a very limited understanding of how the waste management process worked. Although it may sound a bit odd, I was really curious to find out where my garbage was going. I guess I felt like I couldn’t take any effective action until I had seen it for myself and understood the complexities of the situation.
Waste provides a good hiding spot for local street dog
I started doing some of my own research into the issue and a friend introduced me to a business called Daily Dump, based in Bangalore. Daily Dump sells composting equipment, and also runs a “Trash Trail” tour across the city. So I signed up and arrived at the Daily Dump office early one Saturday morning with 7 other interested citizens. The staff gave us a quickpowerpoint presentation to set the scene:
I was amazed to find out that only 10% of what we currently throw out should be heading to landfill!
It is not uncommon to hear Bangalore residents (often from the wealthier parts of the city) bemoaning the loss of trees and green space that has occurred as Bangalore rose to be the Silicon Valley of India.
But what about the people who live in the 640 recorded slums¹ across the city? What access to nature and greenery do they have and how do they use it?
Sanitation has long been a critical, but somewhat unfashionable issue in health and rural development, so it is heartening to see the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation putting their substantial resources behind technological change and innovation in this field with their “Reinvent the Toilet” fair.
The minimum requirements for the competition were that the toilets must operate without running water, electricity or a septic system, must not discharge pollutants and should capture energy or other resources. The winning design from the California Institute of Technology certainly fits that bill, as it is a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity.
Having a stable power supply is something that I have always taken for granted in Australia. But not so in India, where dealing with load shedding and power cuts is part of daily life. So much so that most hospitals, large apartment complexes and hotels have alternate power supply and backup generators to deal with the inconvenience.
But last week was somewhat different, as India experienced the world’s largest power cut, far surpassing any regular scheduled cuts. A grid failure of the north, eastern and north eastern grids took out the nation’s capital, New Delhi and affected over 600 million people. If you consider the fact that is almost twice the entire population of the USA, one gets a sense of the sheer scale of the impact. Trains were left stranded on the tracks, metros were closed and traffic chaos ensued. One Wall Street Journal reporter wrote this satirical take on the issue – 1.2 Billion Indians hit by leadership outage, highlighting the lack of national leadership at a time of crisis.