One of the serious problems being faced by towns and cities world over is to make the living environment clean, safe and livable for their citizens by efficient collection and disposal of household waste. This does not mean that the individual citizen has no role to play in this task as most of the refuse comes from thousands of households and the problem of disposal of waste can be considerably reduced by minimizing the quantity of garbage generated for the civic body to handle. The urban refuse can have both organic materials which are biodegradable and recyclable materials having some economic value. While most organic waste can be composted in-house, recyclable materials are to be collected for bulking before delivery to the processing centers. Segregation of waste into biodegradable and recyclable is a prerequisite for efficient removal of unsafe and unhygienic liter from the vicinity of living areas within a town or a city. Many big cities do have working systems to collect the garbage and the portion not recyclable is used for land fill but involvement of the citizens is not as much as one would like to have. It is here that the innovative program of one of the urban entities in Brazil is breath taking in its concept and practice. As an incentive families are offered fresh vegetables for trading in garbage, the program serving the dual purpose of improving the health of the citizens as well as improving the environment of the city! Here are more details about this exciting story worthy of emulation by every town and city in this world.
"In many urban centers throughout the world, vibrant waste recycling programs aren't just eco-minded niceties, they serve an essential role in keeping communities clean and clutter-free. But thanks to one forward-thinking initiative in the Brazilian city of Jundiaí, trading in trash has never been tastier. Ten years ago, the city's Municipal Utilities department launched "Delicious Recycling", a program aimed at encouraging residents to get into the habit of collecting recyclable waste in exchange for fresh vegetables, grown locally in a public-run garden -- and boy did it take off. Today, the garden boasts more than 30 thousand plants to meet the demand of thousands of veggie-loving recyclers, turning aluminum cans and plastic bottles into edible greens. Ultimately, the program has done wonders for the health of the environment as well, by ridding the city of improperly disposed waste. "What once cluttered and even choked the flow of water from storm drains is today used as currency for healthy food," local mayor Miguel Haddad tellsJundiaí Online. "Everybody wins with this."
Taking the case of India, it is beyond the comprehension of many right thinking people as to why such simple schemes cannot be thought of with thousands of acres of cultivable land owned by the civic bodies available for raising vegetable gardens. These are the days when urban dwellers are clamoring for good quality fruits and vegetables at affordable price, preferably grown locally without using too much of fertilizers and pesticides and there are reports that in many cities in countries like the US, Canada etc, urban gardens are being raised on roof tops, abandoned sites, city lands, balconies etc by the urban families to get their daily needs of vegetables. There are even suggestions that instead of landscaping, people must go for foodscaping where lawns are replaced with food plants capable of yielding a variety of vegetables without disturbing the image of the house. Involving the civic bodies in programs similar to the one reported from Brazil can go a long way in cleaning up the dirty environment which is a feature of to day's urban settlements in India. Such schemes must be encouraged through the much touted JNURM program or the job guarantee schemes of Government of India.