Does education mean a more heightened awareness about one’s role in society?

Author: Tanmayee Narendra

What does it mean to be “educated”? Does education necessarily mean a more heightened awareness about one’s role in society?

These are some questions that I was forced to ask myself after I met with John, the manager of the Dry Waste Collection Center (DWCC) near the Jayadeva Flyover. Let me tell you more about John. John comes from a family of scrap dealers. While thoughts of garbage generally trigger images of filth and refuse for most of us, the same object is a source of income for him.

John at his Dry Waste Collection Centre. Pic: Sieta Van Horck

His grandfather forayed into scrap dealing in 1960, when Bangalore was still relatively small. His grandfather used to go around the city on foot and handpick valuable trash. His father improved on this and bought himself an auto to collect waste. Now, he has enhanced his situation further by becoming the manager of a DWCC. He has a certificate to say that he has been trained to manage a DWCC, and he only recently passed the SSLC 10th standard exam. He calls himself ‘uneducated’. 

John doesn’t consider himself a businessman, and isn’t in the scrap business for money. He himself admitted that since the DWCC doesn’t receive enough quantities of high value waste, he doesn’t cover the monthly expenses of running it. Curiously, this doesn’t seem to bother him a lot. Instead, John calls himself a social worker and thinks of his work as a service to society. 

John was firmly convinced that if every citizen in Bangalore segregated their waste, garbage disposal wouldn’t be the problem that it is. “Today, we send our waste to landfills, dump everything into a hole and cover it up. We don’t deal with it the way we should. Maybe we can continue doing this in my lifetime. But what about my children and grandchildren? They won’t have any more places to dump their waste, and they have to bear the brunt of our actions,” he said. A few bulk waste generators give their waste to John, and this waste is not segregated. When he tells them that segregation is very important if waste is to be recycled, they don’t listen to him, because, as John puts it, “in their eyes, I’m only just an uneducated waste dealer.” 



John with the team. Pic: Sieta Van Horck

John believes that DWCCs are a great way to make citizens more aware of the waste they generate. The landfill is like a black box—unsegregated waste is dumped there, and everyone, except the people who live near the landfill, are conveniently unaware of the repercussions of this unsustainable practice. If DWCCs are present in every ward, the citizens who live in that ward will be forced to come to terms with waste disposal, and the need to take some proactive action (segregation, perhaps?) to ensure its sustainability. 

After this discussion with John, we started walking on the footpath to catch an auto. A man in a business suit nonchalantly chucked his used juice carton onto the footpath.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Explainer: Electrical components and ways to increase BESCOM sanctioned load

Here is an explainer on electrical system components and its maintenance, how to calculate sanction load and the process to increase it.

(Part 1 covered the components of BESCOM bill, tariff structure and sanction loads. Part 2 delves into electrical system maintenance) With the adoption of electric vehicles, owners are tapping into their existing meters to charge their vehicles, leading to electrical mishaps. If you need to connect a 3.3 kw/7.2kw EV charger, your sanctioned load needs to be enhanced. This leads to cable/wire, MCB (miniature circuit breaker) and RCCB (residual current circuit breaker) replacement, possibly the energy meter too may need to be replaced.  Overall, if every household enhances sanction load, this leads to constant tripping of the transformer and short…

Similar Story

Decoding your BESCOM bill: An explainer on its key components

This explains your key power bill components such as tariff structure, sanction loads, and KW and ampere ratings for major equipment.

This year, Bengaluru recorded its second hottest summer day in 50 years, with temperatures touching 40°C in some parts. As a result, the demand for air conditioners (ACs) has skyrocketed. People have purchased multiple ACs without actually checking their sanctioned loads, this has put additional load on Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) power. According to news reports, close to 11 lakh consumers have been penalised by BESCOM for exceeding the sanctioned voltage. Here is a two-part explainer series about how the BESCOM bill is structured and how to calculate the sanction load. Components of an electricity bill Meter: Our…