The district administration of Karur in Tamil Nadu has adopted a novel method of managing solid waste, particularly plastic, in its villages. Solid waste is handled by sanitation guards who collect both bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste from households.
According to Project Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kavitha Singaravelu, plastic carry bags, milk and oil covers are segregated for shredding. The shredded materials are mixed up with bitumen by adding a bio-stabilizer through a wet process. This mixture is called BIT-PLAST and used to lay roads.
In Karur district, as many as 35 roads extending to 70 kms are laid using 17 Mt of plastic from garbage.
Biodegradable waste, on the other hand is converted into compost for producing vermin-compost, while other non-biodegradable waste is sold to the local market.
Further, with a view to sustaining open defecation free (ODF) status, areas that were previously used as open defecation sites or garbage dump yards have been cleaned by the people. This has helped a great deal in construction of more toilets and shrinking space that was used for open defecation.
Commenting on this initiative, Singaravelu said, “Fundamental to sustainability is involvement of people at all stages. Motivating and convincing people to ensure ownership, has helped in turning the wheel, on continuous usage of constructed toilets.”
The cleared space was then made into a ground for tree plantation. Dovetailing with MGNREGS helped in pitting, planting, guarding and watering. Over time, the saplings have grown into healthy trees as a mark of sustainability.