Delhi's Malba project: Working towards clean future

This South Delhi start-up is trying to build sustainable solutions to ensure debris is directed to legitimate waste recycling units

Published: 14th July 2022 07:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th July 2022 08:20 AM   |  A+A-

An image clicked by the team while in the process of devising the Malba Map

An image clicked by the team while in the process of devising the Malba Map

Express News Service

Architectural marvels such as the Pantheon (the former Roman temple) and the Colosseum both in Rome were built nearly 2,000 years ago. Despite withstanding several natural calamities and wars, these structures still stand strong and are a testament to the power of concrete, which is a long-lasting composite building material made with aggregates and paste.

Embraced for its solidity, concrete is the second-most widely used substance in the world after water. The flipside of this material, though, is limited life cycle. Modern concrete lasts only up to 50 years or slightly more, and mindless use of the same poses a threat to the environment and well as human health. 

In order to draw attention towards Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste or malba [debris], Green Park-resident Shamita Chaudhary (28) founded Malba Project, a start-up that focuses on C&D waste management through solution-oriented interventions as well as research and advocacy. 

The Malba Project team while
conducting surveys for their projects;

Building a circular economy 
Malba Project was first introduced as a blog by Chaudhary—she graduated with a master’s degree in circular economy—who was keen on sharing what she had learnt while working on her thesis on the subject with respect to the Indian construction system. An architect by profession, Chaudhary would often post about the mindless use of concrete, C&D waste generation, and related topics.

Her idea was simple—she wanted to direct the attention of architects and other stakeholders so they reflect on what happens after the lifespan of buildings. However, she soon realised that the idea could be more than just a blog—a solution-oriented initiative that could help raise awareness while providing best solutions for sustainable waste management.

A wealth of information
In order to build transparency in the sphere of waste management, the team has plotted a ‘Malba Map’, which can help one figure the network of C&D waste management in New Delhi. When the team started working on this project in 2021, they were provided with information—from the municipal corporation of about 215 collection points in the city. But, there was the added challenge of crosschecking the existence of collection points. This is when the team decided to partner with citizens on ‘treasure hunts’a weekend activity wherein people would get together on a quest to find said collection points. 

After becoming aware of the on-ground situation, Malba Project recently approached the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to highlight the problem in identifying and accessing collection points. “The idea was to collaborate with the government to ensure that the malba is sent to recycling points.” To make waste management accessible, they are now offering door-to-door C&D waste pick-up services in six wards in Najafgarh zone, with an idea to make waste management accessible to the smallest of waste generators.


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