Around nine months ago, the Mahaganapati temple located at HRBR Layout, Banaswadi decided to do sustainable waste management. The temple authority’s endeavour to make the temple a zero-waste, plastic free zone has been quite successful.
The reason why the temple authorities decided to go for an eco-friendly, independent waste management system is interesting. In July, last year, the Waste Management Centre in the HRBR area had declared a strike. During these strikes, uncollected garbage had begun to emanate a foul smell. Two-three lorries were required to clear the garbage and the cost ran high too. Since the temple has round-the-year activities, waste like betel nut or areca nut plates, prasadam etc. accumulates in the premises. That’s when the temple management decided to shift to a more sustainable mode of waste management.
The areca nut plates, which were one of the primary sources of this waste, were the first to be done away with. A well-wisher of the temple has donated 400 melamine plates and during temple festivities, these plates are used and rinsed by the people themselves.
Plastic waste was then slowly reduced by the temple’s insistence on the devotees to refrain from bringing in plastic packets of milk . Devotees have been told to bring their own containers to receive prasadam, if not, prasadam is put into their palms. The paper waste is almost nil, says Ashok Betraj, a member of the temple’s management, who initiated this system.
There was only a small cost initially but with time, this cost diminished as revenue picked up. This temple has motivated other temples and organisations to follow the models.
In June, 2017, the temple will be harvesting two tonnes of compost waste for the first time since they had started. This compost waste consists of the wilted flowers brought in for deities, leaves and twigs etc. All of this goes into compost bins that are located in the temple’s backyards. This compost is to be used for the soil as fertiliser and for landscaping.
When asked whether they were faced with any opposition, Ashok Betraj says that people had to follow the instructions in order to ensure the smooth running of this movement. The effects of this model have only been positive and temple-goers have been nothing but cooperative.