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This year’s book  for the Pratham Books Championship Programme was “A Cloud of Trash,” written by Karanjeet Kaur and illustrated by Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi.

I enrolled late in the programme with less than two weeks. When I read the story, I got curious about trash!

The topic of Trash was interesting in two ways.

First, I have never thought about what happens to the trash that I throw away! Seriously what did happen to them?!

Second, I cannot wait for an extraordinary event of a trash cloud chasing me to change my ways?!

These might seem relatively not so important questions. But when it appeared in my mind I needed to know what can I do better than what I have been doing?!

Following that twisted questions, I researched on the topic of Trash. Many weeks were spent just getting to understand what trash really was! What was good effects of fully recycling the natural way!

Not surprising, I found some really interesting sources that provided more light on the trash. Currently, the Chennai Corporation has to deal with Mixed Trash which contains wet, dry and harmful wastes all in a huge messed up mix. The current method for managing it is called Integrated Solid Waste Management.

All the mixed waste from house goes into the garbage bins in the street corners which the corporation collects from the corners and dumps in sites without the city limits. The two dump sites in Chennai are Kodungaiyur and Perungudi which take in the mixed waste disposed from the entire city.

Source of Waste are 68% Residential, 16% Commerical, 14% Insitutional, 2% Industrial

Per Capita Waste Levels in various cities are:

City Kg/Person/Day
Chennai 0.71
Kokata 0.66
Delhi 0.65
Mumbai 0.51
Hyderabad 0.65
Bangalore 0.45
Pune 0.53
Ahmedabad 0.42
Kanpur 0.49
Surat 0.47

(Source: Green Earth)

I got so engrossed, that I had not even found a school where I can read to the Children until the very last week of the International Literacy Date!

A few days before September 8, I had approached Jaigopal Garodia Hindu Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School in West Mambalam, Chennai to present this story. The school responded with affirmation to my request to hold a session for grades 3 and 4.

The experience of presenting the story to the children was so enthralling that I think I was inspired to do more for the children.

I collated all the details to make an informational flyer, which is still an on-going activity that was inspired by this book.

Bookworm’s Corner is my small effort to get stories across to children. Every child that I come across has a story of its own and the joy of spending a one-on-one session with a single child is so enriching and so are the group session.

Not surprisingly, I spent one session the previous day with the child from my residency. The next day, when I had to present it to Children at the school it was much more fun.

When I reached the school on Saturday at 9:50 am to converse with the teacher and to present my Session Plan, I was a nervous pot. The school was celebrating Vinayaka Charthurthi. I silently thanked my favorite lord and hoped that He would guide me in the story-reading.

The Head Mistress and the teachers of both grades were such helpful beings. They smoothed the way for me to present the story to the children.

The most interesting thing that got away from this story was the concept of segregating at source. Among the various research sources, I found the place which used a scientific method for making compost of the wet waste.

It is also important to know that when the wet and dry waste are separated, then the value of both the wastes increases.

  • Wet waste can be composted and the by-product of compost can be used in kitchen gardens or gardens near the locality.
  • Dry waste which is not corrupted by the presence of wet ingredient can now be recycled or reused.
  • Harmful chemical waste can be provided to proper channel to prevent leachate of the chemicals.

The take away in my session was not only to use the dustbin, which was what the student took away; but also, to separate wet and dry waste so the trashed out material can be recycled or reused based on their quality.

One happy thing that came out of this experience was the fact that I have begun composting at home using the Daily Dump product, medium Kambha. Watch the video to know how it is used!

There is a sense of excitement and a need to get this story further to other children. This might be a whole year round sharing for me.

Pictures of the session: