Municipal Waste has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest, environmental problems of urban conglomerations. With a view to cater to the health needs of a neglected group of people and learning the health and environmental impacts of solid waste recycling, DISHA conducted a clinic for waste pickers (ragpickers) for two years (1995-97) at the main municipal solid waste (MSW) dumpsite of Kolkata.
Shifting of the dumpsite led to the clinic being discontinued. Apart from providing health facilities, DISHA conducted studies on socio-economic and health status of the waste pickers. DISHA also conducted air and water quality monitoring of the Kolkata MSW dumpsite area.A Rapid Assessment Survey of the Health and Environmental Impacts of Solid Waste Recycling was published with the findings.
Another important survey done in this period was on the route of recyclable waste from generation to recycling industries and the price changes these undergo in the process. DISHA has conducted a Municipal Solid Waste Rules compliance survey in 41 Municipalities of Kolkata Municipal Area. A follow up survey, aimed at updating data, is being carried on since December 07.
DISHA has been associated with number of municipalities, e.g. Kanchrapara, Chunchura, Bhadreswar, Kalyani and Budge Budge, in facilitating municipal solid waste management in those areas.
DISHA is conducting a project throughout West Bengal with all KMA and district town municipalities to evaluate the status of municipal solid waste management in West Bengal and developing awareness and concern among citizens and municipalities. The project Campaign for Environment Friendly, Community Based Municipal Solid Waste Management in West Bengal is being supported by Just Environment (Charitable) Trust, New Delhi.
The practical knowledge gathered in the process and continuous interactions with people engaged in sustainable management of waste led DISHA to advocate a zero waste society based on community based, eco-friendly and sustainable management of solid waste through composting and recycling. DISHA opposes incineration of waste on the grounds that it destroys the wealth trapped in waste, pollutes the environment and militates against all the good practices of waste minimization, reuse and recycle.See in this context DISHA's recent initiatives.
- Stop Waste-to-Energy Plants
Reduce – Reuse - Recycle
- Letter of Concern sent to WBPCB and Department of Environment, Govt. of West Bengal by DISHA on 19.9.09.
- Pollution fear Over Howrah plant
DISHA is a founder member of Waste Not Asia,which later became a constituent of GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) .
DISHA provides training on municipal waste management at the vocational training sessions organized by All India Hygiene and Public Health Institute, where trainees from municipalities, urban bodies and pollution control boards form different states of India take part. DISHA has also organised training sessions supported by Kolkata Urban Slum Improvement Project (KUSP) in Kanchrapara Municipality, Budge Budge Municipality etc.
DISHA has been assisting Bankura Municipality in implementing the directions of municipal solid waste management and handling rules by providing an efficient and low cost collection system.
DISHA offers to help local bodies and concerned citizens in setting up their Zero Waste facilities, based on the principles of waste reduction, reuse and recycling. Composting of biodegradables and processing of recyclables through low cost, effective and incremental approach, utilising available knowledge, expertise and infrastructure.