What lies beneath?

Plastic wrappers, torn clothes, broken slippers, old sack, I see them often in my trash bin. I felt responsible when the waste in my house reaches the trash, very little I bothered to think where does all of it reach from the bin.

Indiranagar, Bainganwadi, M-ward Mumbai.

The recce for our #mward project  started from the Apnalaya‘s Padmanaga office in M-ward. Before the recce itself, the glimpses of M-ward on the way to office gives certain ideas about the layout of this area. The houses attached to the main road are firm and well built, there are good roads connecting the slums to main road. As we go deeper, the roads turn into narrow untidy lanes. On our recce we went deeper into the slums until the edge, the Deonar dumping ground. Lanes connecting the slums are as narrow as two feet. Each house is about 15ft by 15ft on an average.

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Wider untidy lanes around Padmanagar

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The sense of normalcy among children.

And underneath these houses are the plastic wrappers, torn clothes and the old sack that once existed in my trash bin, may be your also. 

Deonar dumping ground is one of the largest dumping grounds in India. It is house for trash from all over Mumbai. This is the perhaps the darkest side of the otherwise known as the shining city. Though it is demarcated with a clear boundary the trash extends many meters beyond the wall and this is home for thousands of migrant laborers.  The city needs these people, yet does not want to accommodate them. Hence they seek safety of a home around the dumping ground. Ironically, the structures are  made of plastic and tin sheets, guaranteeing very little security from demolition or the incessant Mumbai rains.

Underconstruction

Under construction

Living on the edge

Living on the edge

The slum dwellers form a crucial workforce who recycle the city waste. It is an unorganized sector and there is very little financial gains, which pushes people to take up other work as well. While recycling waste is essential for a healthy city, the scene on Deonar dumping ground tells a different story. The area is being watched by private security team on behalf of municipality.

Narrow lanes

Narrow lanes

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A water canal lies underneath

 

Problems, Reasons, Solutions?

Our short interaction with handful people from community put forward several concerns that people face there. Water and housing are the primary concerns. Most of them are illegal settlements as they have been driven out from other parts of the city. The threat of demolition always exists, if not from authorities there local bullies who rule the area. The municipality water does not reach these areas. Water is drawn from other farther areas and conveyed over pipes. There is a threat of vandalism where ever the pipe run through.

We could list many other problems in health, education and sanitation. People sought to narrate some of their problems, though we were in no position to solve any of them. We were analyzing how we can design a media intervention that can help them address their issues (part of our Community media course).

It is challenging to list down problems and find root cause for them. Problems are interwoven, so are the reasons behind. Solution is difficult to imagine. We are yet to see how our media intervention can bring any change, if at all it does.

What lies beneath the people in Indiranagar is you and me in the form of our trash. And the whole M-ward lies beneath the riches of a (ugly) city.

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Questions!

 

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