A blog from University of Borås

Monday, December 3, 2012

India: zero waste with music and religion?

We had a trip last week to India and had good meetings with several municipalities, companies and universities about zero wastes concept, and conversion of wastes to a variety of energies, fuels and materials as what we do here in Sweden. I hope it leads to some concrete developments in the country.

However, I think India is a very complicated country with many challenges. There is wide span of rich-middle class-poor people, as well as on the education. We see expensive cars on the street, while still many people depend on elephants and camels for transportation. While air-condition is normal in many buildings that I visited, still 44% of the rural area do not have access to electricity.

The questions on wastes and energy are also hot topic in the country. India is in some kinds of transient conditions from the old traditions (where no everything was somehow sustainable) to a consuming society with perhaps American style of life as the model. They should consume more in order to show they belong to a higher class. It results in a lot of wastes (as I heard 1.3 kg/capita/day that is almost similar to Sweden) and also lack of energy (as I heard just one state has surplus of electricity production and the rest have problem with it). There are a lot of plans on waste management, but in principle, the wastes are transported to the landfills and dumping places.

One key factor in Sweden on a proper waste management and achieving zero landfill is the wastes segregation at the source as people do it as home. When we talked about it, there were people who were very pessimistic and said it can never happen in India. However, Indians love dance and music and they are generally very religious. Their home is clean and their temples are also clean, as we have to take out shoes before entering the temples or mosques. Just they need little social works to start with music and beautiful dancers to sing and dance for zero wastes and also their religious leaders to show them that the streets should also be clean as their home and temples are! Let's see if we get some results out of it!

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