Solution to India’s ubiquitous litter problem : Sexy dustbins
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Solution to India’s ubiquitous litter problem : Sexy dustbins

In addition to India’s toilets, there’s another problem India grapples with : Litter. Litter problem is so ubiquitous in India that putting something in a trash can –if you can find one – grabs quite a few eyeballs. No body in India thinks that litter is a problem at all. Majority of Indians are used to throwing trash on the road. In fact, Indian roads double up as parking spaces, trash cans, temporary storage for construction materials, and free loading docks for enterprises.

India’s growing economy meant that litter would become a widespread endemic. Plastic water bottles, disposable sachets which are affordable by the poorest of the poor and plastic bags for convenience are the result of India’s growing economy and are also the cause of India’s litter problems. The lack of proper waste disposal is the biggest of all the reasons.

Right now, India’s litter disposal strategy is simple : Find a vacant site. Dump your litter.

The behavior of dumping waste on the road is prevalent even if there are dustbins few feet away. This behavior is only explained by what we call “it’s ingrained in our DNA” explanation. There might not be an immediate solution for the lack of dustbins or the dustbins which are never cleared but there seems to be a sexy solution for changing people’s behavior when there’s a dustbin around.

The solution : Make the dustbin sexy.

Cleanoscope, designed by Nishant Jethi and Aalap Desai, uses the concept of kaleidoscopic to attract pedestrians to the dust bin and probably encourage them put the trash in the cleanoscope. The device, generates interesting patterns of the trash which is already in the bin. Think of it as a the iPhone of dust bins.

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The cleanoscope have a tagline of “Cleanliness creates Beauty”. It has to be other way around. Beauty creates cleanliness.

If Steve Jobs were solving India’s litter problem, then this might be how it would have looked like.

The concept is simple, out of the box, and probably expensive too. Leaving the cost component aside, cleanoscope poses its own challenges. One such challenge as pointed by Kurt. K is this :

If the trash can was to be emptied on a frequent basis, then the remaining dried liquid stains would cloud the mirrors further minimizing the kaleidoscopic effect

I agree. If getting people to throw in trash is a challenge, cleaning up the trash cans in time for the next pile up is a bigger challenge. Like all things with anything new there will be new problems, which have to be solved to get ahead.

Cleanoscope is a neat concept with great potential.

Would you throw trash in a sexy dustbin?

Images and story Via TheAtlanticCities