Friday, August 21, 2015

Waste to Wealth or Waste of Wealth - another example in vicinity

Couple of years back a friend attempted to take social entrepreneurship through the solid waste management route. He felt 'waste to wealth' a very tempting proposition to do some good for the environment and the urban poor. What could have been better then to try this out next to a place of worship - with God watching and presumably extending all the blessing ! The Sai Baba Temple at the Lodi Road was chosen for this innovative initiative and the management was motivated to take on this project.  A machine was bought at a cost of Rs. 200,000 to grind waste flowers from temple. It was presumed that devotees will come forward to purchase 'perfumed powder' for use as 'samagri' / sacrificial offering in the sacred fire/ hawan performed on special occasions in many Hindu households. However with rapid modernisation of the society, such rituals are becoming rather infrequent and devotees did not show any interest in using such innovative samagri.

Leaving the lack of devotion apart, operation and maintenance of the machine itself was becoming a liability for the temple committee. The electricity bill was mounting while the machine itself was giving some blues - break downs, rusting, etc...As per a news item published in today's The Hindu the machine has been discarded and is found rusting between two flower shops near the temple (see the photo below). The Committee intends to sell it off as a scrap.  See the full article on the link below:

‘Stench of decayed flowers unbearable’  

So much for attempting wealth from waste ! It proves again the futility of 'waste to wealth' paradigm; and also that wealth creation happens only from application of sound knowledge/expertise, hard work, perseverance, etc. and not from 'waste on its own' under the approach as was tried out in this case.

Hopefully makers of our MSW Rules will take note of this experiment (which took place not too far from where the Rules are framed!) and help save lots of national wealth going down the drain in the name of treating or adding value to waste. 

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