The Dirty Picture - a spotlight on urban waste management

Garbage disposal sites in Delhi have turned venues for a new art project that seeks to create awareness about the benefits of recycling using popular Bollywood film posters as backdrops

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NEW DELHI, September 9: Garbage disposal sites in the city have turned venues for a new art project that seeks to create awareness about the benefits of recycling using popular Bollywood film posters as backdrops. Artist Shaily Gupta is collaborating with two bodies - Karma Recycling and DILY (Delhi I Love You), to put the spotlight on the issue of recycling, which holds the key to much of the urban waste we produce and dispose. Under the project titled 'The Dirty Picture' in a tongue- in-cheek humorous style, towering posters usually of scenes from iconic Bollywood films designed by Gupta to include rotting garbage are being installed in as many as 54 garbage disposal sites across South Delhi. So the poster of Raj Kapoor serenading Nargis in the romantic song "Pyaar Hua Iqrar Hua" from the film "Sree 420" has been altered to depict a dystopian future where Kapoor protects Nargis from acid rain as they pick their way through a street littered with steaming garbage. The idea, say organisers, is to draw attention to the waste management debate by using iconic Bollywood imagery and subtly introducing rotting garbage into the dreamy Bollywood utopia. "We dispose mountains of solid and electronic waste daily with little thought of what it's doing to our precious natural resources or to the environment," Akshat Ghiya, Co-founder and Director, Karma Recycling says. The company, which was started by friends as an awareness foundation to tackle the growing mountain of electronics in the country has since turned into a turnkey manager of electronic waste or 'e-waste'. It is a buy-back operator, re-distributor, and recycler of mobile devices. "We wanted people to think about waste, and what our cities may look like if we're not responsible with its collection and treatment. What better way to do it than through art and Bollywood imagery!," says Ghiya. "If people could love their cities as much as they love their movies, choosing to segregate, reuse, and recycle their paper, plastic, and electronic waste etc, we'll leave a cleaner world behind for the next generation," he says. According to campaign organisers, the metropolis of Delhi produces 8,500 tonnes of solid waste, 5,000 tonnes of electronic waste, 500-600 million gallon of sewage and 10 metric tonnes of bio-medical waste everyday. "Only 5 percent of this gargantuan figure is recycled, although as much as 50 percent of the waste is fit for composting, about 30 percent of it can be recycled," they say. A sample of other posters used in the campaign include the one of the Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol pairing from the film "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" with a caption "Bade Bade Desho mein/ Jagah Jagah Kooda Pada Rehta Hain" ,a twist on the actor's famous dialogue from the film. The 'Dirty Picture' campaign has also launched an online platform - - which lists contact details and garbage solutions for all kinds of waste. The webportal promises to be the one stop directory for all Delhi based waste management solutions. Artist Gupta's work "Stop Garbage Stop" comments on the consequence and condition of present day urbanity. She brings them into focus by juxtaposing the fantasies and luxuries of present day callous lifestyles with the landscapes of waste that they generate at remote locations where they are hidden from view, removed and forgotten from everyday lives.