Urban India produces 62 million tonnes of waste every year. Numerous studies predict that this debris shall increase to 130 million tonnes by the year 2030. Amidst this ocean of waste where everyone is going gaga trying to be captain of the ship by conducting webinars, panel discussions, debates and so on; a group of three young girls from Kolkata quietly came forward and created best out of the waste.
The three wonder women Megha, Swati and Ritika resides in the city of joy, Kolkata who founded Wonder of Waste (WOW). ‘Wonders of Waste’ is not just a fairy tale but their story shall remind you of your favourite childhood show- power puff girl. Under this, these young women create pieces of art by upcycling and recycling waste.
At WOW, they create tables, chairs, lighting arrangements, wind chime, paint bucket sits, cushions and lots of innovative stuff out of solid waste. They can decorate your house, cafe, backyard with bits and pieces of broken tins, wood planks, old DVD’s, discarded jewellery, old clothes, paint buckets, oil paint bottles, broken rickshaw vans, tyre, ladders, window panes and so on.
Designing is a wide-open area but WOW has taken this opportunity to venture into customised projects for various clients by upcycling and recycling waste material. They have also designed Café Ubuntu located in South Kolkata entirely by refurbished items including the lighting arrangements, customised tables, sitting arrangements, planters and even salt and pepper containers. “We collected old oil colour containers from the Kabari-Walas (waste collector) and painted them making pores on the cap. When someone approaches to create a gift from waste for their loved ones or maybe furniture for their use, we directly buy the waste materials from local waste collectors. Later, we shape it accordingly so that even the local waste collectors get benefitted out of our initiative.” said Megha Raha, the co-founder of WOW. WOW has also made a replica of 150 years old nostalgia of Big Ben for the British High Commission using Bamboo sticks as an epitome of sustainable art.
WOW simultaneously stresses on the awareness besides creating these wonders. “We always try to tell people how we are doing it and most especially why we are doing it across all events and festivals.” Megha also highlights the importance of segregation of domestic waste and said, “People don't segregate the waste properly, often toxic elements along with biodegradable waste are dumped together. The immediate impact of these toxic waste dumped is faced by nearby residents who suffer from various health hazards. This toxic waste also enters the different water bodies polluting them and affecting the lives of aquatic animals."
Megha believes it is not a huge task for people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, but the only collective effort from society can help in the reduction of waste production. She also emphasized that responsibility begins at home and said, "It is not easy for a country of 135 crore population to preach sustainability overnight. But the least we can do is to segregate the degradable and biodegradable waste before handing to the waste picker and never encourage littering."
Destiny always has its plans if one has honest intention. The story of these three Musketeers is no different. Imagine if three women starting from scratch can eradicate drops of waste daily, what collective efforts by the entire society shall look like? The radar of the ship is still in our hands until its too late to take a turn. However, damage caused in the past due to the reckless behaviour of human being cannot reverse. However, there is always a road to redemption but it is possible only if we take the pledge to contribute every day for a cleaner, an inch greener earth the efforts will not go to waste but shall end up weaving wonders.
Written by: Oindrila Paul