These Two Men Are Helping Delhites Recycle Waste and Reduce the Burden on City Landfills
Like many other children, seven-year-old Anoushka from Shri Ram School in Delhi took the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ challenge very seriously. She began to force adults in her home to segregate waste and pitched in with her own efforts too. They were clueless, however, as to how to recycle the dry waste. Then, one day, a presentation by Pom Pom Recycling took place in Anoushka’s school. Ever since, her mother regularly uses a mobile app to have the people from this recycling organization come home and collect the segregated waste. Pom Pom is a unique start up, launched by Deepak Sethi and Kishor K Thakur. This web-based recycling platform helps dispose of segregated recyclable waste from households, offices and other places. The waste is picked up from the doorstep of the customer, electronically weighed in front of him/her, and the best possible price is given for the same. Solid waste being weighed electronically Deepak Sethi, who grew up in Bangalore, did his MBA from Australia and has been working in the waste management sector for almost 15 years now. His partner, Kishore Thakur, is a graduate from Delhi University and a retired army officer. Both men are concerned environmentalists and were troubled by the deplorable manner in which recycling is handled all over India. Since they had some knowledge on how to facilitate this, they decided to set up a company. Childhood memories of the garbage vehicle coming and honking ‘Pom Pom’ outside their homes inspired them to use this catchy and easy to remember name for their company. Deepak Sethi and Kishore Thakur founded Pom Pom. Pom Pom operates only in South Delhi as of now. The company collects recyclable waste material from many homes in colonies from this part of Delhi. Recently, it began picking up recyclables from some foreign embassies too. Pom Pom operate 16 eco cars, 4 Tata Canters, and has a strength of around 50 employees. “After collecting the recyclable waste material, which has been segregated at source, we once again go through a stringent process of segregation. After that, we invite people from various industries that use recycled material to manufacture new products, to come pick up the material. This is the first step towards a green environment,” says Deepak. At present Pom Pom is concentrating on recycling paper and paper products, cardboard, plastics, glass, and metals, since the company is in touch with recycling plants that manufacture new products out of these materials. Paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and metals can be broken down, crushed or melted and recycled into new products. Waste material being segregated by Pom Pom staff The shocking truth is that if, by 2020, something is not done to tackle the problem of waste, Delhi will need an additional area of around 28 sq km to dump the amount of garbage being generated daily in the city. The capital’s Department of Environment has reported that 85% of the city doesn’t have a formal door to door, trash pick-up system. Three of the designated waste landfills are overflowing and should have been closed down long ago. Around 9000 tons of trash is collected every day, with no place to go. Promotion “The situation is very grave indeed. So, when Pom Pom was established, the first logical step was to make people aware of segregating waste to help the garbage pick-up persons cart away garbage with ease. We connected with kids at schools right away. Children are already familiar with the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ concept and it just makes it easier to make headway with them. Children who are extremely environmentally conscious, seriously implement the concept in their schools and homes, making the Swachh Bharat Abiyaan a reality,” says Sneha Jain, Head Marketing, Pom Pom Recycling. Apart from school awareness programs, Pom Pom also gives presentations in many residential complexes in South Delhi. Pom Pom is also roping in corporates now, and is conducting training for housekeeping staff in hospitals and hotels. A school awareness program under way. “Most people do not know the importance of recycling and even if they do, they do not know what all can be recycled. We are not aware of the fact that by recycling one ton of paper we can save something like 17 trees, or by recycling an aluminium can we can save enough energy to run the TV for three hours. Once data like this is shared in an awareness drive, people take recycling a lot more seriously,” says Deepak. There are three or four more recycling facilitators like Pom Pom in Delhi but there is still so much recyclable material going into the landfills. Trash in Pom Pom’s bags is much better than in overflowing landfills Awareness about recycling is extremely important to change the mindset regarding waste among people. Pom Pom is trying to do its bit by addressing the problem at the grassroots level. The company aims to bring in top corporate houses, banks, all educational institutions, government ministries, hotels and hospitals into this recycling movement. To contact Pom Pom Recycling, log on to www.pompom.in.
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