IN a bid to reduce the amount of wet waste being taken to dumping grounds, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), along with local self-help groups, is setting up composting pits on its properties at 14 locations across the city.
With four of these already functional, civic officials said the setting up of the pits serves as a training model to encourage residents, colleges and hospitals to similarly process their green waste and reduce the daily output of waste.
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The pits have been constructed in gardens, compounds of various ward offices as well as in civic hospitals, including Cooper, Nair and Sion. They are maintained by the Swachh Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyaan, whose workers collect waste from households, segregate it and then put the uncooked wet waste in the composting pits. “We use the Vermi compost processing system, which takes around two months to complete a cycle before a fresh load of waste can be put in. The compost generated from the waste is used in the gardens in the neighbourhood,” said Subhash Dalvi, the chief nodal officer of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan division in the civic body.
Dalvi pointed out that wet waste comprises a significant portion of waste generated by a household every day. “If the wet waste is composted and the dry waste, which comprises around 30 per cent of the waste of an average household, is segregated and processed separately, then only about 25-30 per cent of the remaining garbage has to be sent to the dumping ground,” he said, adding that 100 kg of waste would yield around 10 kg compost.
The pits are typically 6 feet long, and around 2.5 feet tall. Multiple pits have been constructed where space is available. These can process up to 30 metric tonnes of wet waste annually. “The pits at hospitals are larger and can process the green waste generated in their kitchens. In Cooper hospital, for instance, the pits can take about 100 kg of waste every day,” Dalvi said.
The BMC has roped in an NGO, Shree Aastha Mahila Bachat Gath, which explains the process to people through plays and songs. “After looking at the pits, many residential societies are coming forward with enquiries. The NGO helps to explain the process of composting in an innovative manner and dispel misconceptions that composting emits a foul odour. If the societies process their own waste, pressure on the dumping grounds can be eased,” he said.
Among the 14 locations, pits have been set up at Iraniwadi slum in Kandivli West. Dalvi said if this initiative is successful, it can be replicated in other larger slums as well.
The city generates around 8,500 metric tonnes of waste every day.
The pits have been set up at Malad, Borivli, Goregaon, Andheri and Bandra in the western suburbs, in Bhandup and Chembur in the eastern suburbs and in Matunga. While four are already functional, six others are expected to be ready by next week and the work is under process at the other locations.