Week long audit of waste management service in Urur-Olcott Kuppam

In response to the “Discrimination by Design” report released on the systematic inequity in waste management services offered to Urur-Olcott Kuppam, Ramky Enviro Engineers promised to assign a team of 5 personnel for the Kuppam, and ensure daily cleaning of the dust bins along the seashore. The following is the report on Ramky’s service in the Kuppam subsequent to the promise by Ramky of providing adequate personnel and infrastructure to clean the Kuppam.

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Outcomes of week long canteen-waste audit at ACJ

As earlier waste audits indicated that up to 90% of daily waste at ACJ consists out of organic waste from the campus canteen, GarbageWatch has conducted a week long audit of food leftovers and vegetable waste in cooperation with the canteen management to understand how this waste is created.

Canteen waste was segregated into overcooked food, plate waste and vegetable waste like peels and stored into seperate bins. After every breakfast, lunch and dinner, the bins have been weighed and afterwards emptied again for the next round.

The key results of the audit are as follows:

  • Average food waste per day is 49 kg (ranges from 13.6 – 82.6 kg/day), of which 34 kg is plate waste
    → in other words, every person of the 250 students and employees (at least, this is the number with which the management calculates the amount of food) leaves 136 g of food on its plate daily – and it is even more considering the probability that really all of the calculated people eat at the canteen
  • Maximum food waste occured on Friday (82.6kg), with plate waste of 62.6 kg (agrees with earlier audits)
  • The vegetable waste is 13kg/day on average (ranges from 8 – 20 kg/day)
  • Least overcooked food at breakfast  → reasonable food calculation
  • According to the staff, most of the waste is due to liquid food items and gravies

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Creating a zero waste institution: Waste audits at Asian College of Journalism

Waste audits were performed at Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Taramani, Chennai, on 12th, 19th and 26th November; 23rd January and 11th February to quantify the different kinds of daily discards and its treatment at the institution. The audits are part of the effort to make ACJ a SWM-compliant campus; moreover, it is intended to go beyond of what the rules stipulate to make ACJ a Zero Waste campus: A campus in which all kinds of garbage, if not reusable, are composted or re- or downcycled.
ACJ works on the project in collaboration with GarbageWatch initiative, which conducted the audits along with 10 students.


Waste generated at the canteen and the hostels/admin block were separately measured and classified into multiple streams to understand their composition better. The results show that the ACJ generates about 126kg of garbage daily, of which nearly 90% is organic. The cooked waste from the canteen alone is 86kg, which is currently thrown away. This portion amounts to a per capita waste of 338g per person, which could potentially feed up to a 100 people. The results also show that waste at ACJ contains a significant number of milk packets (54/day) and plastic bottles (40/day), which could be easily segregated and directly sent/sold to Kabadiwallahs. Plastic Downcyclabes was 2.6kg, Recyclables (Paper, Cardboard) 4.5kg.
A source segregation of the waste into three streams is planned.

In the following, please find a more detailed look about methodology and outcomes of the audits.

Alternatively, you can download…

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Photo essay of trash sites in Urur-Olcott Kuppam before and after the Vizha (26th January to 6th March)

As part of the 3rd Urur-Olcott Kuppam Vizha, mass clean-ups (on 27th and 28th January and on 8th and 9th February) were organized in the village of Urur-Olcott Kuppam. GarbageWatch documented the entire clean-up process. The essay aims to show how garbage hotspots in the village changed over the clean-ups and how they are starting to recur again. Continue reading

Trash site removal at Urur-Olcott Kuppam beach road

The clean-up of Urur-Olcott Kuppam is still going on: Today, on 8th February, three additional workers of Ramky Enviro Engineers Pvt Ltd have removed three major trash sites at the shore and one trash site at Ellaiamman Koil Street. Besides, a street next to the temple has been relieved from trash.


Meeting of Urur-Olcott Kuppam Panchayat Representatives with Mr. Ravi (Ramky Supervisor)

On 2nd February, Representatives of the Urur-Olcott Kuppam Panchayat and members of the organizing committee of the Urur-Olcott Kuppam Vizha met with Mr. Ravi, the ward supervisor for Ramky Enviro Engineers Pvt Ltd, the SWM Contractor for the Corporation of Chennai. The main agenda for this meeting was to urge Ramky Enviro Engineers to step up the solid waste management systems in place within Urur-Olcott Kuppam.

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Urur-Olcott Kuppam dustbins 3 days after clean-up

Only three days after volunteers and workers of Ramky have removed trash sites around dustbins at the Urur-Olcott Kuppam beach road, waste is accumulating again: Ensuing the clean-up on 28th January, Ramky has emptied the six dustbins at the seaside of Urur Olcott-Kuppam only on 31st January, but the corporation is contracted to do it on a daily basis, so waste has partially overflowed. Moreover, trash around the dustbins is not removed. However, also awareness of the residents has to be raised as other dustbins in direct proximity are nearly unused:

  • one dustbin, which has been completely cleaned on Friday, 27th January, is now full and surrounded by a trash site:


  • in the meantime, a dustbin only 20m away from the previous dustbin is in proper state since the clean-up, and even before, trash around it has been little:
  • the trash site around a third one has never been cleaned:


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The big Urur-Olcott Kuppam clean-up: Second Day

On 28th January, over one-hundred citezens and Ramky employees aided Urur-Olcott Kuppam to clean its beach and parts of the village; now, the shore has become significantly cleaner and the north of the village around the public toilet has been relieved from trash. But, work still remains as the area between shore and the first houses of the fishing village is partly waste studded and as there is a handfull of untreated trash sites in the village itself left.

The clean-up:

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The big Urur-Olcott Kuppam clean-up: First day

On 27th and 28th January, Urur Kuppam is getting ready for the Urur-Olcott Kuppam Vizha by a beach clean-up. On the first day, roughly 100 residents of the fishing village, other volunteers and Ramky employees gathered to get rid of huge trash sites amidst the village and at the adjoining shore. At the end of the day, the public place in front of the temple, before rather a public scrapyard, was relieved from its garbage layer and half of the dustbins got released form its garbage barriers.

Tomorrow, on 28th January, we need again the help of volunteers, to finish the clean-up together with Ramky.










Ramky and Urur-Olcott Kuppam residents clean up the fishing village

On 13th January, one day after the publication of the report “Discrimination by Design”, Ramky, the responsible corporation for door-to-door collection and street sweeping in Besant Nagar, sent its workers to Urur-Olcott Kuppam to conduct, in cooperation with the habitants, the overdue clean-up of the village:

However, this act has not been completed at all – lots of streets in the north of the village are nestled along trash, and the pollution at the shore is still a catastrophe: