The Okhla waste composting plant, which earned Rs 25 lakh as carbon credits from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2013, can find no takers for the compost it produces.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion on ‘Managing Delhi’s Solid Waste’ under the Delhi Matters series, South Delhi Municipal Corporation chief engineer Umesh Sachdeva said the plant produces close to 40 metric tonnes of compost per day, but has not managed to find many people willing to use it.
“The compost we produce hardly has any takers. Farmers feel that since the compost has been made from garbage, it will not add value to their fields. A change in mindset is required,” he said. The plant was set up in 2008 and has a capacity of 200 metric tonnes.
Delhi generates close to 10,000 metric tonnes of garbage every day. Of this, experts say, close to 50% is what can be composted and turned into fertiliser.
The experiments in this direction have largely been unsuccessful. In Pune, the composting plant under the Pune Municipal Corporation generates around 9,000 metric tonnes of compost per month. Of this, only 2,000 tonnes is used and the rest remains in the depots. Problems have been seen in the auction of compost in Goa as well.
According to Deepak Aggarwal, senior vice president of IL&FS, which runs many composting plants in India, soil quality over the years has deteriorated with decreasing carbon levels.
“Carbon content of soil has decreased considerably over the years. According to studies, only 29 per cent of chemical fertiliser is absorbed in the soil, resulting in massive wastage and loss. There is a need to move to compost in agriculture and horticulture but the move has been very slow. In Pune, for example, compost is finding no takers,” he said.
Representatives from the Centre for Science and Environment, Swati Singh Sambyal, Chintan, Chitra Mujherjee, both working in the field of waste management, emphasised on the need to start segregation at homes so that the nature of waste sent to landfills changes.