Waste management is the biggest concern that every developing city faces today and Goa is no exception to that. In fact, Goa is more prone to the situation since it is a tourism-oriented place and garbage disposal is a challenge of enormous scales that the Government is facing. From the Calangute, a major tourism hub, to the capital city of Panaji and further south to Margao, the rubbish monster is haunting everyone. The situation is such that we all know there is a problem but none of us have any idea about a solution. At this juncture, YIMBY enters as Superman by setting up Goa’s first Waste Management Consumer Centre.
What do we do when we need to buy groceries? Obviously, we go to the supermarket or a grocery shop, and when we want to buy some medicine, we head to a pharmacy. What we do when we need to buy stuff related to waste management? We don’t know, because there is no supermarket for waste management! The entire planet is facing this one particular problem and hardly anyone has a solution!
Gaurav Pokle, the hero of this story saw this problem in society and decided to come up with a solution to it and from that idea of his, the YIMBY came into existence. When I asked Gaurav more about this alien world, YIMBY, he said that YIMBY (Yes in My Back Yard) is a Goan start-up to tackle the situation of waste management existing in the state and rest of the country. “We had our 1 launch at Vibrant Goa event, and we are coming up with our brand into waste management called YIMBY,” said Gaurav adding that It is a pro-development term opposite to people who always say ‘Not in My Back Yard’ or NIMBY.
Although it may sound very childish, its importance is huge. “If I were to give you an example, for medicines, people know where to go, for their daily needs, you go to the local store., If you want to practice waste management, there is absolutely nothing of the sorts in that field as the people wouldn’t know where to go. They sometimes end up going to a plastic shop to buy the bins,” said Gaurav who spearheads the entire idea of the first waste management center in Goa. People do not even know what is the meaning of cool codes on the bins. “They end up buying a red color bin as the walls in their place are painted red, unknowingly that red is a color for hazardous waste,” he added.
According to Gaurav, there are certain guidelines laid down by the people who handle waste management and according to that, the first step is recycling. If the process of segregation is not followed then the next step of collection of the waste gets affected. “This is where our role comes into the picture, says Gaurav. “We are in process of creating a one-stop-shop for all the waste management needs that would help the big Housing Societies, individual households, hotels, or corporate firms and institutions, or government offices to take care of the proper waste management,” he added.
The problem is how to control the waste and make use of it for other purposes like generating energy or recycle it to create another product from it. “A composting can be done in a simple bucket at home, so what we are trying to provide is the knowledge in that field, as there are a lot of misconceptions and a lot of wrong information being spread as people get misinformed and don’t know the real processes behind it,” said Gaurav adding that when there is a need for gloves, people go to the pharmacy and buy surgical gloves. “We want to bring this consumerism into Waste Management, as when you enter our store you will get the idea of what is recyclable, and what is not, and what are alternatives for plastics as we have bamboo toothbrushes and so on.”
People use paper cups but they are not aware of the thin plastic film inside the cup and because we think it is just paper, then it must be biodegradable, but in theory, it is not. “We make sure that we follow the guidelines laid down by the Municipal authorities. Our idea is not only to recycle the waste but also educated people in waste reduction and give ideas on how to up-cycle and reuse materials,” he said. There is a lack of awareness in the field of waste management and that his company is in the process of making guide books. “We call this section the IEC (Information, Education, and Communication). So, in part of the information, we are creating a multiple guidelines book. This will help simplify the rules for people from all walks of life, be it a household, a roadside stall and so on. This will have the basic Do’s and Don’ts,” he said.
Another thing that YIMBY will be doing is engaging the “Waste Management Enthusiasts” who will be recognized as a green partner for YIMBY whose Mascot is a Human Ninja and who wears a green costume. “The other character wears a black costume and known as NIMBY “This is to inculcate a storytelling purpose as to helping create awareness at a larger scale, by using the mascots of YIMBY for Pro-Dev and NIMBY to show the negative outcomes,” narrated Gaurav.
Gaurav says that his company is doing the job of creating awareness about waste management but finally everything depends upon the people as to how they want to take it forward. “We provide the medicine, the food, whether the person eats or chooses not to is up to them. In our IEC, we talk about waste reduction to aid in as little waste as possible. Second what we are going to practice is, we are bringing all the recyclers connected to the platform through our E-Commerce website and the App that we will be launching and to the store,” said Gaurav continuing that “If there is dry waste that is collected in the house, there can be a pickup scheduled with YIMBY and we will designate our recyclers to collect from the requested area. Payment is done via our wallet by the person whose dry waste was picked up, and once the amount is then transferred to the person they can use the same to buy anything from our store using those credits.” Gaurav’s idea will not only eradicate the problem of the garbage but it will pay the people who are a part of YIMBY.
Gaurav also has plans of renting out the equipment that will help the societies or individuals to carry out the cleanliness drive. “Another thing I’d like to add is that we will have certain renting out options for equipment, so in case there are cleanliness drives or beach cleans, and people come to us and they can rent the material for certain hours,” said Gaurav.
“The main idea of YIMBY is to be Pan-India, and our plans are to be located in more than 500 cities by the year 2024. In the 1 stage by April we plan to open at Mumbai, Pune, Ahmadabad, and Bangalore. We have our consultant partners as Fencorp, who will be assessing how the store looks and the costs, revenue, vendor agreements and so on. It will be a complete period where we understand the people that work with us in the various cities in India.”