DHARMAPURI: To raise awareness on solid waste management and recycling, the Dharmapuri Pollution Control Board office has set up a unique office that generates 'zero waste'. Officials said waste generated here is repurposed to reduce environmental damage.
The Pollution Control Board in A Reddihalli is the talk of the town after it became the first office in the district to have zero waste. The office used the waste generated to set up a herbal garden, an orchard and a petting zoo to encourage recycling and reusing among students and other government offices.
District Environmental Officer Dr A Samuel Rajkumar said, "Since last year, when our office was established in A Reddihalli, we have adopted a simple office policy - ensure there is no such thing as waste. We label them as 'misplaced resources' instead."
Dr Samuel said four bins are set up in the office premises for daily waste collection - for food, plastic, paper and electronics. Regularly clearance of paper and plastic waste generates a small revenue which could be invested in ventures like a garden or rearing chickens, he added. "So far over 600 government employees have taken part in our training to create 'zero-waste generating offices' mission," he said.
"Further, the small revenue is used to get vegetable waste from the local markets and retail shops to feed the farm animals or as manure for trees and herbs. These herbs are used to make tea for our staff," he said. Dr Samuel added, "They are teaching these easily adoptable techniques to school education department and government office staff."
Assistant Environmental Engineer S Sivaranjini said, "We have also set up a 5-tier encirclement of trees around the PCB office. We in the PCB are following a coordinated and controlled method to raise awareness among industrialists and factory owners to curb pollution. By setting up such surroundings, pollution from factories or industries can be contained within the premises. We are also advising factories to segregate their recycling or reuse as much as possible."
Several government employees said, "The PCB office staff have created a self-sustaining atmosphere. If they are hungry they can collect the fruits here and can brew a hot beverage with the herbs in their office. We have learned a lot from the office's approach and are inspired to adopt such a model into our office campus."