Green Initiatives for Urban Poor
To address the urban environmental issues and problems SAFE has taken initiatives to provide alternative livelihood facilities to urban poor and derive ecological handprints for habitat restoration and pollution reduction. Under this program SAFE is running the following projects for the benefit of urban poor and urban habitat.
- Waste Management & Resolve: Trash to Cash is a project that attempts to recycle urban municipal wastes to recreate micro utility household products by training rag-pickers and slum dwellers of Kolkata. The recycling workshop handles 7-8 metric tons of municipal wastes every week that would otherwise have gone for landfill. The revenue returns suffice the livelihood of more than 100 households and have mainstreamed 70-80 women ragpickers as entrepreneurs. Total calculation of reduction of emission footprints accounts to 40700 kilo tons of carbon equivalent generating 17000 man hours, 40 tons of compost and almost 25,000.00 INR, revenue generated per month at an average. The project has been awarded by Match International Women’s Fund and nominated for the UNFCCC Lighthouse activity. On 13th August, 2014m US Ambassador Kathleen Stephens inaugurated the mechanization unit of the project and as a gesture towards launching the partnership of SAFE with the US Consulate, in Kolkata. Currently, 18 corporate giants have converged to the program by donating their office waste and achieving 70-80 percent segregation of waste at source. The program initially have been supported by Vodafone Essar Limited under CSR and in consecutive year Resolve:T2C received fund support from Innovative Challenge Fund, ICF, under Urban Development Ministry, Government of West Bengal. (Learn more)
- Vertical Greens: This livelihood linked vertical gardening project for creating better habitat and assuring alternative economic opportunity for the urban poor youth has been supported by the IYF grant from UN HABITAT. The project aims towards reducing the heat island effect in cities and create livelihood opportunities for urban poor by capacity building and skill development training. As a part to this, SAFE targeted the two prime nursery communities of West Bengal, dwelling in Amtala, under MoukhaliPanchayat and Uttar Nayabad, behind Rajarhat in Kolkata. Youth are trained on vertical gardens and technology is transferred through capacity building and skill development workshops. The youth members from the community are vulnerable and largely poor, the new concept gives them a new horizon to shape their entrepreneurship in a more innovative way. (Learn more)
- Community Water & Sanitation program: SAFE has shaped two programs for providing safe drinking water to urban slums named WASH-US (Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Urban Slums) and NEWS-UP(Nonconventional Energy in Water and Sanitation for Urban Poor), both provides solar powered water treatment plants delivering 10,000 liters of WHO standard drinking water to the community through automated dispensing units. The integrated model has bio-sanitation components for providing state of the art sanitation facility based on microbial bio-digesters. These units are fed with the refusal water enabling ‘o’ discharge and low water footprint intervention. Both projects would cater to nearly 5000 urban poor and elevate their lifestyle and livelihood by providing essential services, new economic opportunities and inclusive growth. The program has been supported by the World Bank and CSR funding. (Learn more)
MIWF: Match International Women Fund
Supporting women led waste management micro enterprise, ‘ResolveTrash2Cash’, winner Momentum for Change, Lighthouse Activity Award 2015
Resolve Trash2Cash is an urban climate initiative of SAFE for resolving the municipal solid waste of the city to an alternative livelihood for city’s rag-pickers and unemployed poor women. The project has evolved as women led micro enterprise; those are trained to recycle waste paper, plastics and wet wastes from the city dustbins to make micro-utility household products.
“Team up to Clean up”, campaign at residential level was undertaken by young women team of resolvet2c basically to create awareness on segregation of waste at source among 4700 hosueholds in Saltlake city of Kolkata. Heavily mixed waste cannot be recycled and is hazardous to human health; and everyday waste workers are susceptible to injuries and other health problems. This program is undertaken by SAFE in collaboration with Bidhanagar Municipal Corporation, BMC involving 150 more waste scavenging women, who are ready to take up recycling as art. Match International Women Fund, MIWF have been the collaborative partner since last year for this ground level initiative, which now have begin to receive support from the local municipal authorities. Till, last year the Rt2c team had to carry out the mainstreaming process by straying around the fringes outside landfill, which posed difficulty in reaching out to the larger section of this waste workers community.
The program aims to mainstream thousands of poor women scavenging waste everyday as victims of circumstances, as our aim is to create women entrepreneurs not better waste scavengers.
Dumping of unsegregated and unfiltered waste into the landfills is creating a clear and obvious threat to human health as well as a threat to our environment from the hazardous contaminated air emissions emitted from the landfill bio-degradation. There are over ten toxic gases released from landfills, of the most serious of which is methane. Methane gas is naturally produced during the process of decay of organic matter. As methane gas is formed, it builds up pressure and then begins to move through the soil. In a recent study of 288 landfills, off-site migration of gases, including methane, has been detected at 83% of these landfill sites. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
It has also been shown that people living close to landfills suffer from lung and heart diseases from the toxic gasses that are released from the landfill degradation.