Veena Sahajwalla: Waste Warrior

1 February 2016
The Guardian

Growing up in Mumbai where waste is considered a valuable resource, Professor Veena Sahajwalla is making the most of its enormous potential by dedicating her research to transforming waste, and at the same time addressing the environmental and social impacts.

The Indian city of Mumbai is one of the most populated places in the world. The 18.4 million people who call it home produce more than 11,000 metric tons of waste every day. Most of it is taken to the oldest and largest dumpsite in Asia, Deonar, a towering mess that has grown to stand more than 50 metres above the earth.

This is the city where University of New South Wales (UNSW), Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla was born. Sahajwalla was raised with an acute awareness of the amount of waste societies create, and the impact of waste upon those societies.

It was this upbringing that led Sahajwalla to dedicate her life’s work to trying to minimise the environmental and social effects of waste. Sahajwalla wants consumers to re-imagine the manufacturing process – to value waste and see it as a resource that is ripe for recycling.

In 2005, she invented a world-first technology that does just that.

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