Swacha Graha is a citizen-driven campaign initiated by the Solid Waste Management Round Table Bangalore to address Bengaluru’s garbage woes. The campaign challenges you to make you look at the waste you generate as a resource, just by starting three green spots.

What are the three green spots?

Green Spot 1: Your composting spot
Green Spot 2: Your garden where you use your compost
Green Spot 3: Your kitchen, where you cook with vegetables and greens from your garden

How is Green Spot 1 beneficial?

Composting is a smell-free, non-messy process which will reduce your carbon foot print. 60% of the waste every household throws can be managed by composting. Just by starting this simple process of composting your own wet waste, you will be avoiding it from getting dumped in landfills which pollute our land, water and air.

Your composting spot will hardly take up any space. Pic: Ganga Madappa

How is Green Spot 2 beneficial?

When you grow your food in your second green spot, you will be blessed with fresh oxygen from your plants. The plants will grow from your compost and any remains will go back to your compost bin too. Understanding this circle of life in as less space as a small balcony is a soulful experience. It is therapeutic and will make you a much happier human being. Gardening, along with other innumerable benefits, teaches you such wonderful skills for life! It is a great family bonding activity too!

How is my Green Spot 3 beneficial?

Imagine harvesting a fresh bunch of palak for palak paneer or cucumbers for a salad - the joy is inexplicable. Technically, you will be saving so much of energy by growing safe food in the confines of your balcony.

Here's how: You will save fuel used to transport your vegetables from a farm to the market. You will save energy wasted on herbicides, fungicides and insecticides; all used to grow vegetables in a non-organic set up just by adding your home made compost. You will save energy used for packaging the vegetables by your supermarket. You will save energy used by huge refrigeration equipment to keep your vegetables fresh even after days of harvesting!

A picture of the Green Spots in the author's community. Pic: Vasupradha Sampathkumar

Why should you take the pledge?

Composting is going to save Namma Bengaluru and it is one of the coolest things you can do these days. Why else will you see the government talking about it and leading dailies covering about it in the second or third page of their newspapers!!

I have taken the pledge because I want to leave behind a rich and beautiful legacy of clean air, water and resources for the future generations. As an African proverb goes: "We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children."

So, if you think you want to see a cleaner city, take the pledge, start composting, reach out to many more. Swacha Graha is a one-of-a-kind green revolution where people come together to solve their civic problems. Every pledge counts! The target of this campaign is to get a million Bangaloreans to start composting, that's why we want your count too!

What will happen after you take the pledge?

You will receive an email telling you about a simple technique of composting. This is just to show you how easy composting really is. The homepage also has a list of individual and community composting solutions, with contact numbers.

Once you decide which method you want to follow, you will be directed to vendor websites from where you can buy composting solutions. See: Information on individual composting solutions.

How can you decide among different systems listed?

If you are looking at individual composting solutions, decide between aerobic and anaerobic methods. As already mentioned, you will receive an email with a video on simple home composting. You can start doing that right away! If you want to explore other options, you can join our Facebook page: fb.com/swachagraha, and clarify your doubts and questions. No question is silly, and all of us are here to help you start composting.

I am convinced that I should start composting, but I am hesitant to start. How can you help?

We have a huge set of mentors and volunteers as a part of the Swacha Graha campaign who will readily help you out. Discuss proactively and you will find that much needed inspiration to start off.

What is the One Week Challenge?

The One Week Challenge calls for layering your veggie and fruit peels in a container with holes with a layer of inoculated coco peat alternately. The container can be anything from an unused carton box with holes drilled for aeration, to a plastic bucket with holes, or terracotta containers. These containers can also be bought. Do this for a week and keep your container aside. After 25 days you will end up with rich compost. Do it to believe it, really! 

We are a big community. How can I get more people to compost in this setup?

The more the merrier - schools, colleges, organisations, apartment complexes; all fall in this category. We are challenging people in these institutions to take up the Swaha Graha Community Pledge. 

Declare the day beforehand and request the people in your organisation to get vegetable and fruit peels on a single day. You can use the invitation available on the Swacha Graha website to declare the event in your organisation. Click here for the link to posters.

Get each person to drop off their peels in the composting drum and add inoculated coco peat to layer it. Keep them updated with information of how the composting is going on and finally when compost is ready, get them to touch and smell it. This way, we are looking to change the mindsets of people who otherwise think that wet waste is of no use. Also request each person who participated to take the pledge online and initiate composting at their home/community.

I want to help my friends to compost. How can I do that?

Talk to your friend about composting, guide them and get him/her started off with the One Week Challenge, and post pictures of your activities on the Swacha Graha page. It will motivate many more friends out there to do the same!

Click on the picture to download the full poster.  

Whichever method you start off with, be it the community pledge or the One Week Challenge, record your activities and share your pictures! This is important because this being a citizen-driven campaign, we need to inspire more people.

Today, there is a struggle for clean air, water and land. This struggle will affect all the generations that come after us. So let us buck up now and act upon it. Let us challenge others to look at waste as a resource. Let us start the three green spots for a better Bengaluru and most importantly inspire each other. That is when we will truly leave a mark.

Start today and this will be your chance to change the world. 

More info: www.swachagraha.in | swachagraha@gmail.com