I hope this updates finds you well!
It's been a few months since our last project update in October, though the time seems to have flown. At the start of November last year, we launched our first project in the state of Bihar - contemporary India’s third-largest state with a population of over 100 million. It’s also one of the least developed in terms of access to infrastructure such as good roads, schools, health facilities, and almost no waste management system to speak of. We’ve set up shop in the northern town of Motihari* to start out with, and will use this as our base from which to launch a cluster of services to small cities and towns in Bihar.
When we arrived, Motihari’s waste management system was particularly decrepit. The city has grown up around a large S-shaped lake, which is also the source of much of the fish in the local diet. As migration from the rural areas has accelerated, the town population has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. Coupled with rising consumerism and access to packaged products, the city finds itself in the midst of a waste management crisis.
The best efforts to combat the piles of waste accumulating on street corners, is to hire a few trucks with laborers to scrape up waste from these piles around the city and get rid of it. As disposal is not regulated, none of the waste is processed, and the 15-20% that is collected is simply dumped in the most central open area – the lake. The result has been the literal transformation of the once-picturesque lake into a dumpsite, where algae now choke the lake and its fish.
Waste Ventures has introduced its ‘EasyBin’ service in a residential area, serving about 5% of the city and employing 7 waste pickers to start collecting and processing waste from this small test area. The response has been phenomenal - with 97% of customers paying the collection fee already in the first month of service, and residents in other parts of the city clamoring for us to expand into their areas.
We are thrilled with the response and eager to carry the momentum forward. Cleaning up all of Motihari will reduce greenhouse gases by more than 2,000 tons of CO2-equivalent each year, and provide safe employment to about 150 waste pickers.
Thank you for your support in making it possible to be where we are, and for continuing to celebrate these small steps forward with us!
Best wishes to you and your loved ones for the New Year,
Tiffany and the Waste Ventures team
Lalbabu and Naveen pose under an EasyBin banner