“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”
Margaret Mead (Anthropologist, U.S.A)
Exnora Green Pammal
Exnora Green Pammal (EGP) was an initiation to change, as conceived by Ms. MangalamBalasubramanian along with a group of women residing within the Pammal Municipality. It was an attempt to solve the challenges of waste management in Pammal by active participation of its own residents.
The drive to manage waste came in the year 1994. Those days, dumping the trash at the corner of the street was a usual affair for the residents of Pammal. Irregular visits of Municipality collection truck caused garbage accumulation in and around the streets. Situation went worst during the heavy rains which deposited the wastes into the drains and thus causing stagnation.
To combat this unhygienic condition Ms. MangalamBalasubramanianformed a mahalirmandram (women’s association) and started a civic Exnora movement. The initiative began with hiring few workers, buying tricycles for collecting the wastes from around 264 houses in the near vicinity, Sri Sankara Nagar. Since July, 1994, a minimal user fee of Rs.10 was collected from the households to pay the employees. Street plays took the role of spreading awareness towards pollution and waste management. Gradually, an innovation took birth when mandram decided to segregate the waste and opted for vermicomposting with the biodegradable wastes.
The success story of vermicomposting from household wastes gathered attention from Sankara Eye Hospital and mandram was allocated a space in SankaraDhyanMandapam for an exclusive production of vermicompost.
In 1995, the mandram was registered as a self-help group and secured a loan to construct the vermicomposting shed.
Efforts of mandramworkers were then noticed by Pammal Municipality and Ms. Balasubramanian was invited to extend her services in all the 21 wards. The mandram then registered itself as an NGO with the name Exnora Green Pammal (EGP) and signed a contract with Pammal Municipality. Collection of user fee from the households was stopped and Pammal Municipality in turn paid 95 paisa to EGP for each house. Apart from this, Pammal Municipality provided 70 tricycles to EGP and PepsiCo India provided 80 tricycles. EGP signed the contract with Pammal Municipality to pay Rs.500 for each tonne of compost that EGP produced from the municipality waste and Rs.100 for per tonne of recyclable materials recovered. An approximate amount of Rs.35000 to 45000 EGP pays to Pammal Municipality per month.
Since 2004 Tsunami, the PepsiCo Foundation joined hands with EGP in sponsoring the replication of EGP’s waste management programmes in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Tenkasi.
In 2005, PepsiCo sponsored for a larger shed with 108, one tonne vermicomposting tanks on 1.1 acres of land provided by the Municipality.
- 2004- 2014: A persistent decade long collaboration with Pammal Municipality and PepsiCo India lead to an effective and efficient solid waste management in and around Chennai.
- 2007- 2010: EGP worked in close collaboration with Panipat Municipality and PepsiCo and created Exnora Panipat Navnirman Samiti (EPNS). Awareness programmes, rallies and public meetings were held to educate the residents towards waste management, waste segregation at source and made them familiar with the concept of waste to wealth. PepsiCo funded for the 3 acre site land and installed around 80 vermicomposting tanks. By the end of two years around 10000 homes were covered under the abled guidance of EPNS.
- 2008 – 2017: Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research (IGCAR) invited EGP to initiate the solid waste management in Kalpakkam,Anupuram and Bhavani. EGP and its efforts were recognized by Govt. of India and DAE joined hands with EGP in their solid waste management programme in IGCAR township. Apart from 6000 residences, six schools, six office buildings, three marriage halls, fifteen shops and the bus stands participated.
- 2009: EGP collaborated with Mangadu Town Panchayat. PepsiCo contributed Rs.150, 000 to support the processing cost and monitoring.
- 2010- 2012: EGP endeavoured in Kolkata in association with Biovision Agro Pvt. Ltd. and Kamarhati Municipality for an effective solid waste management programme in their 19 wards.
- 2013-2019: Initiation and implementation of TEMPLE GREEN Project.
- 2016 onwards: ITC invested into EGP’s efforts in organizing the solid waste management programme in Shivaliknagar, Haridwar district in Uttarakhand. It was a magnificent endeavour to employ the rag-pickers into the role of waste collectors and segregators. They were given a dignified designation of ‘Swacha Bai’ and to the wonder, the residential community took the charge of their salaries.
- 2018-2019: ITC collaborated with EGP for the Mission SunheraKal(MSK) and initiated solid waste management in Thiruvottiyur, Thiruvallur district.
Till date, the efforts put by EGP along with its collaborators bore a sweet fruit of grass root implementation of an effective solid waste management in compliance with the government norms in several parts of Tamilnadu, Haryana, Uttarakhandand West Bengal. Needless to say that EGP workers, the Green Ambassadors set a reliable example of empowerment of the underprivileged. The practice of reuse, recycling and the projects involved in ‘waste to wealth’ programmes helped in generating revenues for a larger section of underprivileged in the society.