A Recycling Crusader At Home, This IAS Officer Is Giving Hyderabad An Eco-Friendly Makeover

Follow Us On

With the whole of India is experiencing the wave of rapid urbanisation, sustainable development is often an overlooked aspect. Cities are expanding with wider concrete roads and taller skyscrapers, while the green cover is shrinking and the heaps of plastic waste generated are reaching unprecedented heights in the suburbs. Most of the times, we find the city municipal authorities quite nonchalant about these problems. But not in Hyderabad. Thanks to Hari Chandana Dasari, Zonal Commissioner (West) of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, recycling and upcycling have become synonymous with development being done in the city for the last two years. From recycled plastic paver tiles, plastic bottle bus-stops to bamboo office-houses, Hyderabad has become a champion in environmental awareness in India at present. The IAS officer is working in coordination with Bamboo House India and a few other eco-friendly organisations to bring these changes.

Hari Chandana Dasari
Recycled Tyre Furniture

Chairs from tyres: how it all began

As the commissioner for GHMC, Dasari has been associated with waste management for quite some time. “In Hyderabad, we generate and transport about 4,500 metric tonnes of waste per day and all of it ends up in landfills,” she informs Efforts For Good.

Two years ago, Dasari was looking for greener ways of disposal for a bunch of unused, old tyres lying GHMC office yard. That is when Bamboo House India came to her rescue. Their concept of upcycling discarded tyres into furniture caught her attention. “We opted for turning the old tyres and barrels into furniture for public places,” she shares. “After that, we explored street furniture made of recycled plastic. I must mention that we received a lot of positive support from the citizens,” she adds.

Hari Chandana Dasari
Recycled Drum Furniture

Prashant Lingam, co-founder of Bamboo House India recounts their association with Hari Chandana Dasari on a multitude of projects. “The success of the street furniture project prompted us to build a bus-shelter out of plastic pet bottles,” he informs. They also constructed an entire office-house out of bamboo and plastic bottles for GHMC.

Hari Chandana Dasari
Bus stand made out of discarded plastic pet bottles

The ground beneath your feet is all recycled plastic

According to Dasari, one of the best projects undertaken by GHMC has to be the laying of plastic paver tiles along 10 prime streets in Hyderabad, in collaboration with Bamboo House India. Pavements need remodelling almost once in every few years. The cement tiles have to be broken down, generating a pile of rubbish which can’t be used anywhere. On the contrary, plastic paver tiles are more resilient and can be reused multiple times. “We laid an entire stretch of around 4000 sq. ft. People thought it was expensive and a burden on the exchequer, but she persisted and convinced everyone about its need. Work for another 7000 sq. ft. is in progress,” recalls Prashant.

Hari Chandana Dasari
Colourful footpath tiles made from upcycled plastic waste

“It might seem that the recycled plastic paver tiles are apparently costlier. But, if we take into consideration the entire expense of plastic waste disposal – starting from transport to landfills or incineration – recycling them into paver tiles is way more economical and eco-friendly,” Dasari informs.


Caring for the underprivileged

In and around Hyderabad, one can find around 30 Give & Share centres, which builds a healthy community aside from promoting the zero-waste concept. Open to all; these Give & Share centres allow residents to donate their old clothes, shoes, books and any other household items, which can be picked up anytime by those who need it. “People from the lower-income strata have benefitted a lot from this initiative,” shares Dasari.

Hari Chandana Dasari
Donation Centre

Recycling begins at home

Hari Chandana Dasari is a lady who practises diligently what she preaches, as evident from the various recycling measures she follows in her own home. She has a recycled bathroom and a rainwater harvesting reservoir. She does not have to pay electricity bills, ask why?

Hari Chandana Dasari
Hari Chandana Dasari practises recycling in her own home

“I have installed a solar power generator at my house, which takes care of all my power needs,” informs Dasari. Her most remarkable feat at home has to be excellent waste management methods. “I have a home composter where all my wet waste goes. As for dry waste, I sell all of them and distribute the money among my domestic staff,” she narrates.


Projects in the pipeline

Prashant Lingam informs about the collaborative projects in the pipeline, which include a bus shelter and toilets from recycled plastic as well as roadside planters.

Hari Chandana Dasari
Upcycled plastic street furniture

They are also in talks with a few notable corporates for acquiring their sizeable amounts of plastic waste and incorporating those into these recycling projects. “Whenever we think of a newer innovative project, we have this much confidence that Ma’am would never say no to a good cause,” Prashant says about Dasari.

Hari Chandana Dasari
Pet bottle Christmas tree

Message for everyone

So how far have her measures succeeded in making the citizens of Hyderabad more environmentally aware? Dasari admits getting a lot of enquiries from citizens to replicate similar recycling measures in their homes as well.

Hari Chandana Dasari
GHMC office house made from bamboo and recycled plastic

“When you’re sitting on a recycled plastic bench and realising that ‘recycled’ does not mean ragged and dirty, it helps to create a lot of awareness and sensitivity,” she asserts.
For our readers, the environmental crusader of Hyderabad has a message. “It takes a small effort to start a change. Start recycling at your home; recycle plastic bottles and try to cut down on single-use plastic. Home composting is another good concept for urban residents. These small acts can go a long way in saving our planet.”


Also Read: After Victory At Versova, “Beach-Warrior” Afroz Shah To Clean Up Mithi River In Mumbai

Love this story? Want to share a positive story?
Write to us: [email protected]
Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
Work in progress

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,505 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

Follow Us On

Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
Work in progress

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,505 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
Next Click right arrow to read the next story Previous