Live light : Interactive website for waste management in Badlapur
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As the global temperature rises, species die and resources grow scarcer, sustainable or green consumer behaviours occupy an increasingly important role in saving our habitat and promoting environmental awareness. The project aims not only to convey the need and importance of being a green consumer in this throwaway culture but also to make available the information in a way that it aids the young urban dwellers attain and sustain a green lifestyle. With my research, I have discovered several reasons behind the disinterest in developing solutions to the excessive waste generation and its mismanagement. One reason is that these green habits seem to be at odds with the fast-paced urban lifestyle. It needs a significant change in behaviour and thinking, and change is always difficult. An equally important reason is the lack of media coverage and information along with the social stigma around waste collection and disposal. However, one of the most important reasons is that the waste disposal system has been completely separated from the rest of society. The waste collected is sent to dumping grounds, where it is hidden from the public eye. Most people are unaware of the functioning of the disposal system, along with the issues it is facing. Due to this secretive nature, society is unaware of the significance of waste production and the efforts of waste handlers. What is needed to fix this problem is awareness. With the use of the internet, this information can be spread easily to one group in particular: the youth. As the first generation that has grown up with the internet, they are one of the most knowledgeable groups, having the most reach when it comes to communication. They are also the first generation that will have to face the consequences of waste mismanagement. More than anything else, starting early is an excellent way to develop good habits, empathy and a sense of ownership. For the above reasons, the youth of Badlapur was selected as a primary audience. The final product of this project is a website which not only describes the problem and complexity of it but also provides different alternatives and steps that one can perform individually or as part of the community to be a part of the sollution. The ‘Live Light’ website provides a platform for people to find green stores and alternatives around them. It also provides a platform where people can sell, lend, rent, buy or borrow old stuff, improving the communication within the community and reducing the need for new products. The website also provides a platform for the citizens to book waste management services for buildings, societies, institutions or even for small ocassions. A part of the website also acts as a link between the citzens and the Kulgao-Badlapur Municipal Corporation (KBMC). It allow people to post complaints which if backed by a large number of people, can be converted into a petition. It is also a place where the KBMC can post their news and responses. The most important thing is to be able to turn good actions into good habits. The best way to do that is to address young minds. This website hosts downloadable material and structure for a campaign that will help volunteer to address young kids and help build good habits in them at an early age. During the summer break after my third year of engineering, I was staying at my parents’ house in Badlapur, a town near Mumbai. One day, I heard my mother yelling over the phone at Indrojeet Burman, who looks after the door to door waste collection in my society, Shashwat Park. No one had come to collect the waste for the 3rd consecutive day. Then my mother asked me to go to the society office to check what the problem was. On my way to the society office, I saw that all the building and community bins were overflowing. The waste that was piling up was covered in flies and smelled terrible. In the society office, Indrojeet told me that the Kulgaon Badlapur Municipal Corporation’s (KBMC) garbage truck had not picked up the garbage since last week. It went on for another couple of days. Mosquitoes had started breeding near the dustbins. People came to the community bins to throw their waste over the already overflowing dustbins. People had begun falling sick due to the mosquitoes and flies, the stench was unbearable, and people had started panicking. It was all chaotic. Soon as the bins became too messy, people started dumping their waste in the naala right next to the society compound. Garbage was everywhere. Then suddenly, one day, the KBMC garbage truck came and picked up all the trash, and from the next day, it was back to normal. That day my society realized, if it weren’t for the KBMC, we would have no idea what to do with our waste. That was the first time I felt that waste was a growing problem. Soon after identifying waste as a problem, Shashwat Park started adopting measures as part of the solution. It became the first society to start a local composting pit for all the buildings’ organic waste was composted. But due to lack of proper knowledge of starting and maintaining it, the composting pit had become a nuisance. It was too close to the house, maintenance was challenging, and foul smell had become a huge problem. Flies and mosquitoes had started breeding near it, and soon enough, Shashwat park became the first society to shut down their compost pit. When my professors asked me to think of a topic for my final communication design problem, I immediately knew that I wanted to address the issue of waste management.