Waste management solutions in Bangalore are dime a dozen but Dakshayani Ramachandran’s innovative ideas and concepts take the cake. These can be adopted in individual homes, apartment complexes and propagated in small towns and villages, providing a livelihood for many women.
The dynamic lady hops from place to place demonstrating how to convert dry waste to wealth at seminars and workshops held in cities, towns and villages across the state. Recently at Varadapura village in Hoskote taluk in the premises of a government school, Dakshayani arrived with a Pandora’s box which everybody wanted to open and have a look at the contents. The community had been eagerly awaiting to know how one could make rasa from khasa without making any investment.
Amidst a gathering of curious teachers, students, members of local bodies and women from various self help groups, she opened her box to reveal a plethora of contents - colourful handbags, dolls, holders, boxes, files, vases, flowers and whatnot. To the amazement of the audience, she went on to demonstrate how day to day dry waste from individual households could be stored and recycled into productive products and marketed in one’s own area.
It was three years ago that she took up this project and began a campaign to address the problem of waste management in Bangalore where a citizen follows the mantra of : refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle waste materials. The focus of the project is to come up with income generating activities for women and demonstrating it to them practically to make them believe in this concept, the passionate environment activist says.
Dakshayani’s efforts is a classic example of how one can use opportunities to develop and address the problems of the community with minimal investment. “The consequences of mounting waste and their disposal in landfills has to be addressed sooner or later otherwise, the consequences may be horrible with our land and ground water resources turning toxic in the years to come. If wet waste is segregated and tackled at home itself and converted to compost, the dry waste should either be sent to the collection centres or converted to stationery or craft items on a small scale,” she explains.
One look at any plastic and paper material, she is there to advice and help you to convert it to simple, usable product. Demonstrating how to turn paper into decorative items, Dakshayani adds, “Invitation or wedding cards can be used for making boxes, tin foil wrappers for flower vases, cardboard cartons for potted plants, cooker gasket, electric wires for making handles for bags, old woolens for making table mats, white plastic covers for making handbags and so many other things.” However, she cautions that there is a procedure for making all these items and further says that one can easily make 50 bags per day.
She hopes to begin a revolution in tackling the burning problem of waste disposal especially in the villages where awareness about how to recycle and reuse paper and plastics is non-existent. “If I see something going waste, I feel like experimenting, innovating and coming out with a new product. Being associated with the Nature Club of St Paul’s School at JP Nagar, every week, I had to come out with a new concept and idea to tackle this issue. You won’t believe it but looking at water bottles, I got this idea and have made so many collectibles.”
Going from school to school in Bangalore, she has found that students are very receptive and says, “Choosing students who can inspire and motivate anybody in the world, I found the creative edge for implementing scientific projects. My focus is more on awareness as every citizen should have a choice. At least, they should make a beginning to segregate and send it to the collection centre, if not recycle it,” the gutsy lady signs off.