“Wow we pulled it off “was the feeling with sigh of relief for all of us at Hasiru Dala. We were recently involved in managing the waste of first mega wedding (Reception of Sowmya Reddy and her partner Abhishek) in the city. Wedding was attended by around 18,000 people, and it generated 2 tons of organic waste that was delivered to bio gas plant for processing; 60 kilos of Dry waste that included water bottles, plastic covers used for packaging of food was delivered to city’s Dry Waste Collection Center for further sorting, grading and recycling. Per capita waste generated in the event was 114.5 grams which is way lower than the average weddings Hasiru Dala has ever managed till date!
Hasiru Dala is engaging in event waste management. The first challenge of servicing a wedding of 2500 was a wow experience which we completed successfully. Then came an order to manage a wedding where 18,000 or 20,000 were people expected. We were very sure we will pull it off, but the fact it was a high profile wedding there were butterflies in the stomach to say the least.
Last year (September 2014) my dear friend Sindhu avid runner called and shared her concern about huge marathons in the city that leave back large amount of waste along the trail which in many cases ends in landfill. At the same time, Shilpi another professional runner and a volunteer helping in bettering solid waste management approached me to look at managing waste of Bangalore Marathon. Sindhu and Shilpi requested the runners to run with their own bottles and pursued all the organizers to serve hot meals on a reusable plate and hire wastepickers to manage drinking water stations and aggregate generated dry waste, which will be sent for recycling later.
Bangalore Marathon with the route scaling 42 kilometers and 8000 runners, only 125 kg of dry waste (paper cups) was generated and sent for recycling by 50 + wastepickers from Hasiru Dala.
Rest is history as they say.
For us at Hasiru Dala, waste management for green celebrations, is a team building activity and an organizing tool! A space for demonstrating abilities of wastepickers- the invisible workers’ and their invaluable contribution to the city. This is an opportunity we believe helps in breaking the barrier of caste, class based discrimination often experienced by wastepickers.
Kere Habba or the Lake festival at Kaikondrahalli lake on Sarjapur Road saw the foot fall of 3500 participants, wastepickers managed all the waste, with 60 Kilos of organic waste sent for composting. In Hasiru Habba, Hasiru Dala’s own celebration with more than 1000 wastepickers assembled, steel, plates, steel cups are used for breakfast, lunch and tea – this is for making a role model of sort.
Professionalizing this service and creating a trend for eco-friendly events is the need of the hour.
There was no set training or curriculum to train wastepickers to become specialized service providers for event waste management. The creative juices of the Hasiru Dala staff resulted in specific training for managing event waste and thanks to Dr. Meenakshi Bharath, who participated in our first training to share her experience of conducting her own daughter’s wedding as an eco-friendly celebration which set an example to the city. Soon with support of Wipro Cares, more than 50 wastepickers were trained in a classroom setting and many more with on hand job training. The demand for this training among wastepickers is increasing.
Working closely with wedding planners, host facilities, caterers and decorators is a new experience. Designing the messaging about green celebration to match the color and theme of the event is a new skill which we have learned.
Waste management at events meant late nights, early hours for Hasiru Dala activists. The staff undertook the challenge and rose to the occasion. Marathon after marathon, weddings after weddings we perfected our service.
Some people at Sowmya’s mega wedding asked us “how come all wastepickers are happy to do this work?” It’s because Hasiru Dala is their organization, we do not have employee and employer relationship here. They are aware that they are responsible for more wastepickers to have new jobs in events management, if they fail, they will ruin the opportunity for others like them. It is that feeling of solidarity among wastepickers that help us grow and create more job opportunity.
Hasiru Dala in past helped manage waste in Karnataka Pension Parishad’s public meeting participated by 5000 people in freedom park, 1 Million rising in Cubbon Park, and Womens’ Day celebration in Malleswaram. It’s our commitment to provide waste management services for social justice action that is close to our heart, for the unorganized sector workers and womens’ rights.