Apartment Communities – United to Combat Climate Change

Did you know that just by choosing to live in an apartment instead of a standalone house, you qualify as an environmentalist?

Are you aware of the collective power that you as an apartment community hold, to conserve your immediate ecosystem?

The theme of the World Environment Day 2009 is “United to Combat Climate Change”. This post discusses how as part of a united apartment community we can make a positive impact to our shared piece of earth, which as an individual may not be equally substantial.

Here is a list of 5 such initiatives that any apartment community can undertake. Please let us know if you could think of more -  the birds, bees and butterflies would thank you!

1. Rainwater Harvesting
2. Car Pooling
3. Waste Segregation
4. Lake Development
5. Plant Trees

Let us explore each of these.

1. Rainwater Harvesting

Do you remember filling buckets of rainwater when you were small and then using it for fun games? Or opening your mouth up to a hailstorm? You had just reused rainwater. Rainwater harvesting is exactly that – collecting rainwater for reuse.

Rainwater

You may ask – why harvest, doesn’t rainwater naturally seep into the underground water table and ultimately get pumped into our taps? The answer is NO! With the growing cityscape, the absorbent soil surfaces are covered with buildings or tar roads. This causes rainwater to flow into drainage systems or dirty water bodies. This water then has to be run through expensive recycling and purifying systems to make it usable by us. When our bore wells dry up (as the water table gets depleted ), this is the water we buy from expensive tankers.

Rainwater Harvesting entails collecting the rainwater that falls on our roof and balconies, and have it recharge our bore wells, or channel it to absorption pits so the water table right below our building is replenished! And if your builder has made the provisions, you could directly reuse the appropriately filtered rainwater for the washing machine & other cleaning needs! Assuming the average rainfall in your city remains same, you will not need to call another water tanker ever – statistics says that for a city like Bangalore, the annual rainfall on the catchment area (roof and balconies) of a typical house is enough to provide all the water needed by a typical household! This holds good for a typical apartment complex as well.

Implementing rainwater harvesting does require concerted effort from the Apartment Owners’ Association, but professional help is available in plenty! Here is your complete How-To guide from BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board).

Resources to ‘just do it’:

Biome Solutions
water@biome-solutions.com ; 91-80-41672790

Rainwater Concepts
sales@rainwaterconcepts.co.in; 91-080-65460796

Resources to learn more:

Jal Swaraj!


2. Car Pooling

If you live in a large apartment complex as well as work in the commercial center of the city (e.g., an IT Park), chances are that there are at least 10 cars commuting each day from your apartment gate to your office gate. The right setup for a carpooling arrangement!car_for_web copy
And guess what, you also face the same facility inefficiencies – if there is no water in your tap, then it’s the same for your neighbour too – you both will be late !! Where do you get better carpool partners?!

If all 10 commuters carpool, 10 cars are reduced to 2 cars! The savings: money, petrol, wear & tear of each car, and the environment! And oh the variety of topics for discussion – right from Guptaji’s loud parties to the new playschool coming up next door!

Resources to ‘just do it’:

ApartmentAdda (use the Forum or the Noticeboard to find your carpooling partner)
CommuteEasy (when you are looking for a dedicated carpooling solution)

Resources to learn more:
Car Pool

3. Waste Segregation

Every morning when we hand out a single garbage bag containing all our household garbage together, we just created more waste.

How?

The typical household garbage bag mainly contains wet waste from kitchen, paper, plastic, and occasional e-waste (used batteries etc.). When these ride the garbage truck together, they end up in a landfill. Some of the dry waste like plastic bottles get picked up by unauthorized reusers and the rest just lies there – for eternity to do its job of long decomposition.

The truth is that other than the wet waste, almost everything else in our garbage bag should go to human hands – either to be re-used by the needy, or decomposed safely (e.g., the batteries), or to be recycled the right way (e.g., paper and plastic). If we could just separate our waste right at our home, and hand out our garbage in two bags – one with the wet waste, and the other with dry – the dry waste can get recycled.

BENEFITS: Recycling the paper waste will cause less trees to be felled to manufacture fresh paper – recycling a tonne of waste paper saves 17 trees and 26460 litres of water. Recycling of plastic consumes 70% less energy than manufacturing them. Proper disposal of e-waste will prevent underground water from being contaminated with hazardous chemicals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Reduction of waste dumped in landfills, will free up land used as landfills for more productive use.

waste-segregate-bbmp

You can choose to go the whole way – install 3 separate garbage bins: 1) for wet waste, 2) paper+plastic+metal+clothes and 3) e-waste.

Or, you can just start with one level of separation! Below are the commendable examples:

Prestige Greenwood provides separate bin for the e-waste from each flat. This e-waste is taken away by a qualified re-cycler.

Brigade Millenium in Bangalore provides a separate bin for all dry waste. Read about their inspiring initiative on the Citizen Matters site.

Resources to ‘just do it’:

E-Parisaraa
91-80-2836 0902/ 3290 6684

www.dailydump.org
91 99164 26661/ 91 80 41152288

Resources to learn more:

E-waste guide
ITC Paperboards WoW (this initiative now covers Bangalore)


4. Lake Development

Have you paid a fortune to buy a ‘lake facing’ apartment, only to helplessly watch the lake deteriorate by the day? The builder promised to develop the lake but.. You figure it is under the Lake Development Authority or the Forest Department, who are not sure if it is going to be under BBMP soon.

Then there are problems of Sewage Overflow from STPs of the neighbourhood that have only the lake to flow into. The BWSSB sewage lines are not yet extended to your neighbourhood.

Well.. here you are – part of an apartment community with collective resources and determination. Can nothing be done to prevent the lakes from being filled – either by construction or by weeds & pollutants?

We don’t have answer to this yet. Do you?

Resources to ‘just do it’:

ApartmentAdda.com (Use the  forum, notices to stir up the crowd!)
Save Chinnapannahalli Lake

Resources to learn more:

Lakes in Bangalore

Chinnapanahalli lake covered with weed

Chinnapanahalli lake covered with weed

5. Plant Trees!

Finally, here is playing in the offense rather than the defense! If you cannot do any of 1 through 4, you sure can roll up your sleeves, dig up the empty patch right next to your building and plant a sapling! And if your neighbours join in, you can plant a neat little botanical garden around your building!

40 yrs down the lane your next generation will nenlightenmentot only inherit that apartment but also the air loaded with oxygen and mornings hailed by chirpings of birds! Talk about raising your property value! In Bangalore there are NGOs that help you with planting trees – you can sponsor the saplings or just show a patch of property where saplings can be planted and will be nurtured by the property owner. You can also just volunteer for planting.

Resources to ‘just do it’:

TreesforFree

Resources to learn more:

Care for your tree

We at ApartmentAdda.com wish you all the very green! Do write back to us about which environment friendly cause your apartment community is championing!



ApartmentADDA is India’s #1 web-based Housing Society Accounting Software with complete integration to Online Payment Gateway, Society Communication and Facility Management . We empower Cooperative Housing Societies (CHS), Resident Welfare Associations (RWA), Apartment Owners Associations etc. with online tools to manage their Apartment or Villa Complex effectively.

Please sign up for a LIVE Online demo to know more about the product here : Register for Demo. Start your ADDA (Complete Communication Package), right now, FREE of cost here: Create my ADDA.

Comments

  1. Latha says:

    Fantastic! We are looking at carpooling and RWH in our society in Hyderabad. THanks for the crisp and useful information here! Wish you ‘all the very green’ too!!
    Rgds,
    Latha

  2. Vishwanath says:

    Good work with your ideas. Here is an article I wrote for The Hindu on rainwater harvesting which maybe useful to some
    apartments

    http://rainwaterharvesting.wordpress.com/2008/12/26/rainwater-harvesting-in-apartments/

    http://www.rainwaterclub.org
    e-mail:zenrainman@gmail.com

  3. Rohit says:

    Thanks ApartmentAdda for spreading the awareness..

    Also check this petition which lists relevant information on water harvesting in the Belandur area:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/GGLASA01/petition.html

  4. San says:

    @Latha
    @Rohit: Thank you, and wish you all the best with your projects.

    @Vishawanath: Thanks for sharing the article, very informative.

  5. Shalini says:

    I found link of one more website promoting carpool in Indian Metros – to fight with climate change and traffic congetion.

  6. Roadsharing.com is a website dedicated to making single occupant cars a thing of the past. If you want to hitch a free ride in a car share, get involved in car-pooling, or hitch-hike, roadsharing.com is for you.

  7. san says:

    Useful site! Thanks for sharing.