‘Life depends on water, the reservoir depends on you’ – religiously following this mantra, Central GST Vadodara-II Commissionerate office under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance has embarked on a mission to recycle wastewater. Under their initiative ‘Jal Sanchay’ (water accumulation), the employees are saving about 14.7 Lakh litre annually, that otherwise would have been discarded into the drain.
Taking inspiration from Central Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the project, executed at the GST Bhavan at Subhanpura, aims to recycle waste water from Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purifiers and condensed water from Air Conditioners (ACs). Leaving no drop to waste.
Talking to The Better India (TBI) about the project, J.S Sehra, Superintendent, Central GST and Customs says,
“The project is an outcome of a brainstorming session on ways to reduce water wastage and reckless waste disposal habits which are grave problems that need immediate attention.”
Emphasizing on the need to recycle and reuse waste water from RO filters, Bharat Prasad, Inspector, Central GST and Customs says it is not rocket science and anyone can implement it.
“An RO unit expels at least three litres of water into the drain to purify 1 litre of water. All you need is a drum or a container to store the water discharged from the filter. One can use this water for washing and cleaning purposes such as cleaning utensils or mopping.”
“Using at home for past 7 months, there has been no side effects to using this waste water till date. At home alone installed in personal capacity, this setup is saving about 23,000 litres annually. The project report has also been submitted to Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi regarding policy matter on ways to utilize RO wastage water,” he adds.
The project, at household level, costs up to Rs 1,500 inclusive of expenditure on the installation and purchase of the drum. It is a one-time investment, and independent of manpower, electricity or any additional maintenance.
Places where a drum or storage tank cannot be installed, the waste water from the RO filter is connected to small Jal Sanchay drums. The condensed water from Air Conditioner judiciously collected in buckets, are poured into those drums which continuously channelizes the water to Rain Water Harvesting Wells for ground water replenishment.
This setup on three floors of the government building utilizes 7 RO systems and 122 Air Conditioners.
The RO system installed at the Revenue Café inside the premises has a capacity of 80 litres and fills the water cooler twice a day. The waste water pipe of this RO is connected with a 500-litre overhead tank. Similarly, the Guest House filter with a 15-Litre-tank capacity is connected to a 200-Litre-tank and the RO fills it thrice a day. Just 2 of these RO system saves about 1,70,000 litres annually.
To put things into perspective, the water that otherwise would have reached the drains and burdened the water treatment plants, is now being used for cleaning purposes and replenishing the ground water tables.
The entire government-funded project utilizing 9 RO systems costs around Rs. 60,000.
With an aim to spread awareness about the initiative and inspire other government departments and people, the revenue department in Vadodara started the ‘Water Warrior Programme’ in January this year to laud the staff efforts for water conservation.
To boost the morale of our staff, we lauded their efforts and felicitated them with a Water Warrior Memento. We also held a discussion where people exchanged innovative ideas to conserve water at home, adds Mr. Sehra.
Creating An Eco-System Of Recycling For The People
With the Jal Sanchay project running smoothly without any glitches, the officials wanted to introduce a programme where common people would be in a position to contribute toward a sustainable environment. For the same, the department kick-started a recycling project.
Central GST Vadodara-II Commissionerate is endeavoring to be an engine of change and create an ecosystem of recycling of PET Plastic bottle and E-Waste along with reducing polythene bags in our surroundings and ultimately reducing Carbon Foot Prints, says Mr. Sehra.
A PET Bottle and E-waste disposal centre has been setup on the premises. Both, the residents and staff members can deposit their waste. While the electronic waste will be given to an authorized e-waste agency, the plastic bottles will go to the shredder machine installed in the office and the shredded material will be sent to scrap dealer for recycling and further usage in industrial processes.
The income generated from the disposal will be recycled into eco-friendly cloth bags and given to the depositor as a complimentary gift. This decision will finally reduce the dependency and usage of polythene bags.
To educate people, the officials placed hoardings describing the project in nearby localities and pamphlets have also been distributed.
Within three months, about 38 Kilos of PET Bottles and a good amount e-waste such as old mobile phones, keyboards, tablets, ear phones, and charger among others was collected.
Impact in Numbers
The project was able to save a total of 228 kilos of carbon dioxide emissions and 0.214 cubic meter of landfill space as recycling one tonne of plastic saves nearly 5.6 cubic metre of landfill space. Production of one kilo of plastic or polythene requires 2 kilos of oil for energy. A whooping 76 kilos of oil was saved through 38 kilos of plastic bottles.
“This project has created an eco-system and opened an easily accessible point for people to dispose waste. The format of getting an eco-friendly bag in return of submitting legitimate e-waste/PET bottle is attracting people and they are now becoming a part of the larger eco-system demoting polythene bags. This is promoting correct disposal of waste,” says Mr. Prasad.
“The social impact of this project compliments our Government’s long going efforts to curb polythene bags and proper disposal of waste and therefore helps us in saving expenditure on our exercises,” he further adds.
Sharing their final thoughts on the scalability of both the projects, the Customs Inspector and Superintendent says that such projects could only be possible because of the support and right guidance of the senior authorities. The models can be implemented in any public space and since the nature of the problem persists everywhere, replicating this project is essential for a safer environment.
To know more about the project, you can contact Bharat Prasad, Inspector, CGST & Customs, Vadodara-II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)