We write poems about, we travel with great dedication and passion, we switch to macro lenses to get that perfect shot. We pay through our noses to buy/ rent. It is land that we depend on, yearn for and make livelihoods out of. We even have soldiers at borders bleeding and dying to protect this notion of ‘land’.

But what do we do to protect the land immediately around us? The half-eaten pack of chips that we throw without a thought, lands somewhere out of our sight. It maybe out of our sight, but definitely not out of our lives. It comes back to haunt us.

We make hills out of unsegregated garbage. While wet waste leaches and pollutes ground water, we burn garbage that ruins the air we breathe. It all comes back to us.

This weekend, I met a few soldiers to fight this. They were fighting for better solid waste management, better soils and healthier food. What is the connection in these things? you may ask. Read on.

how to compost at home

Savita Hiremath was in our office on Saturday to talk about her fight. She is a strong proponent of community composting. She ensures the benefits of composting and its impact on safe food reaches people through her blogs and seminars.

Army of Composters

If Hiremath is a one-woman army, I met a battalion the next day. After an intensive session on Saturday, we moved outdoors to Phoenix Market City for an evening of spoken poetry. The poets found solace in nostalgia, anger in a deteriorating city, helplessness in our attitude. Yet, they found hope in our collective future. And what better way to express than with words?

slam poetry at phoenix

Composting is surely magic in several ways. What we thought is waste and need to be discarded, has the power to nourish the food we want to grow. It has the power to heal soil that has been depleted with decades of exploitation and incessant use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

By segregating and composting, we reduce the burden on the landfills that dot our cities. Wet waste leaches into the ground and contaminates our ground water sources, release methane from anaerobic reactions and worst of all: makes life unlivable for those around them.

Here is a sample of what I witnessed on Sunday. This is an excerpt from Durdana Simran’s poem:

The soil that once firmly supported us to walk,

Now crumbles under our feet like surrendered slaves,

The water that used to taste like heaven

going down our gullets like silk,

Now tastes like tears of fishes,

going down our throats like liquid cement.

Almost all of us are dumbfounded when it comes to contributing positively to the society we live in. Next time you feel this, remember that each Bangalorean produces about 500gms of waste every day on an average. This might not seem much. But as a city, we produce 5,000 tonnes every day. That is five followed by six zeros. Take a moment to process that.

Let Them Know

It is small things like taking charge of our waste, and composting it and making sure we return it back to your soil that makes a difference. Also, pledge to support this movement. In Greenpeace, we are advocating with state authorities to ensure that we take control over our wate.

Here is another excerpt from a poem.

“But it’ll be too late by then

Too late to even call it my land.

So before that happens.

Lets wake up

Speak up”

And take the first step
--Durdana Simran

Want to learn to compost?

Karthikeyan Hemalatha and Dhrishti Mrigwani work in the Engagement Team at Greenpeace India