Mumbai, being the 4th most populous city in the world, the percentage of people living in slums is estimated to be as high as 42%
One of the main problems for the people residing in the slum area is the lack of proper waste management.
An aerial view showing wastes dumped in and around slum areas of Mumbai
Earth5R came forward to solve the problem of wastes sustainably in slum areas of Mumbai. Volunteers of Earth5R train in the densely populated localities in Mumbai – namely Kurla, Vikhroli, Powai, Andheri – where people are facing a waste management crisis.
An Earth5R volunteer training locals at Kurla, Mumbai in basics of Waste Management and Livelihood training (Earth5R)
Kurla displays an urban blend of residential colonies, big and small industrial estates, commercial enclaves and slums and is one of the largest industrial zones in Mumbai.
Scattered wastes could be seen in the Kurla region, Mumbai
The scattered waste on streets and roads and the polluted Mithi river which flows nearby reveal the lack of proper waste management at Kurla.
A view of Mithi River polluted with wastes, particularly flyaway plastic wastes from the neighbouring slum settlements (Hindustan Times,2019)
The Earth5R team is working with RiverRecycle, United Nations Technology Innovation Labs, and VTT with Huhtamäki to clean up the Mithi River in Mumbai. The plastic debris recovery machine used for the clean-up has the capacity to remove 60 tonnes of plastics per day cleaned the river. The collected plastics are then recycled so that they may never find their way back to the Mithi river or the landfills.
An Earth5R volunteer trains the people of the community at Kurla using a pictorial representation of waste segregation and waste management (Earth5R)
Currently, Earth5R is undertaking a massive change by educating senior citizens, adults and children in these slum areas of Mumbai about waste management and segregation through interactive sessions, slides, quizzes and games.
An Earth5R volunteer conducting a training session at Andheri East, Mumbai (Earth5R)
WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY: EARTH5R LIVELIHOOD PROGRAM
The goal program is not only to keep wastes out of the streets and river but also out of landfills.
The Earth5R volunteering team trains the locals on how to make products from discarded plastics, cloths and paper, which would otherwise have been thrown away as waste. The Earth5R team also trains the locals in marketing skills.
An Earth5R volunteer at Park site, Vikhroli in Mumbai, teaching waste management to the locals (Earth5R)
These products help generate an income for these families while putting power in their hands by making the locals financially independent – especially the women. Earth5R also helped in creating a direct link between the people and the local market so as to increase the reach of their products and thereby uplifting the lives of everyone involved.
MANAGING WASTE THE ORGANIC WAY: COMPOSTING TRAINING BY EARTH5R
The volunteers of Earth5R teach people to convert organic wastes into compost. This compost is not only used to fertilize the commercial plants within the community but is also sold which further adds to their income.
An Earth5R volunteer educating locals about waste management and composting (Earth5R)
Vikhroli, Powai and Andheri regions in Mumbai are prominent residential-cum-commercial localities, comprising multi-storey residential apartments and slum settlements alongside some commercial establishments. The wastes generated from these establishments are quickly becoming a problem.
The Earth5R volunteer conducting Waste management and waste segregation training for the women in Vikhroli, Mumbai (Earth5R)
An Earth5R volunteer conducting livelihood training at Powai in Mumbai (Earth5R)
Earth 5R team and local people are making this program a huge success. Volunteers are training at least 100 families per day. About 4500 families have attended the training program by Earth 5R for the past 60 days.
The circular economy based livelihood and solid waste management program has ensured a sure, safe livelihood for the families in slum areas. This program keeps the waste out of the streets and empowers women while boosting the local economy.
Earth5R is an environmental organization from India with its head office in Mumbai. It works with the NGO sector, Companies and helps them conduct environmental Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs across India.
– Reported by Sajitha Siril, edited by Riya Dani