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Post-visarjan, BMC starts composting ‘nirmalya’ waste

G/ North ward (Dadar) ward has converted a 2,000-sqm defunct sewerage operation plot at Dharavi for the project

Written by Anjali Lukose | Mumbai |
Updated: September 16, 2014 3:52:28 am
17 existing cement blocks on the plot, which were not in use, have been converted into compost pits. 17 existing cement blocks on the plot, which were not in use, have been converted into compost pits.

In an attempt to reduce the amount of ‘nirmalya’ waste reaching the dumping grounds, the BMC has started a waste segregation and composting project after the Ganpati Visarjan.

G/ North ward (Dadar) ward has converted a 2,000-sqm defunct sewerage operation plot at Dharavi for the project.

Around 35 metric tonnes (MT) of nirmalya, collected from neighbouring wards comprising N M Joshi Marg, Parel, Matunga, parts of Thane creek and Mankikar Marg, are currently being converted into compost using bioculture. The compost will then be supplied to the G/North gardens department, which otherwise purchases compost at Rs 8/kg.

For what the ward officials claim to be a “no investment, great returns” project, 17 existing cement blocks on the plot, which were not in use, have been converted into compost pits. With holes for aeration and a bioculture solution procured from Baba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) scientists Dr Sharad Kale and Dr Sukhendu Ghosh, the nirmalya is being converted into manure.

“Faster degradation is the best result of using bioculture. Instead of the nirmalya going into the sea and adding to pollution, we can put it to good use and produce organic manure. As the bioculture was readily available with us, I though instead of just advocating such methods, I should also help out those interested and joined the project,” said Dr Kale.

Ward officials estimate that once the project is fully functional, their facility can cater to the city’s gardens department’s annual requirement of 2000 MT of compost. Before the ‘big’ nirmalya project, the facility segregated 1 MT of biodegradable waste from the flower market nearby and converted it into manure. The ward has now submitted a proposal to the BMC to purchase a wet waste converter to reduce the time taken to convert the waste.

Besides the wet waste, around 1.3 MT of dry waste is segregated daily by rag-pickers. The ward officials have now sought approval to install a conveyor belt to enhance the segregation as well as machinery to convert flex banners and plastic waste from their ward into plastic pellets.

Following the last day of Ganpati immersions on September 8, nearly 2,033 metric tonnes of garbage was collected from various parts of the city by the civic body. Dadar (G/North), followed by Andheri (West) and Oshiwara (K/West), generated maximum amount of garbage, according to data available with the BMC’s solid waste management (SWM) department.

Civic activists, however, said that although ward officials are keen to recycle waste, there is no land allocated for waste management in the wards.

“We have to keep looking for places as there is no allocation for space on waste management at the ward level. We keep pressing for such spaces in the DP plan, but although officials agree, we do not see the allocation on ground,” said Pratibha Belwalkar, vice chairman of Centre for Sustainable Development, an NGO. This year, Mahakali ALM in Andheri East gave space to convert 30 tonnes of nirmalya from K East ward as there was no space available at the ward. The manure will be sold by the NGO to pay for the labour, added Belwalkar.

Similarly, K West ward, which until last year used to generate around 30 MT manure from nirmalya and other biodegrabale waste through the year, did not have space to recycle the nirmalya this year. “The wet waste management centre has been discontinued since August as the Posha Nakhava Udhyan at Versova has been taken by the gardens department for development. We will restart the centre after availability of suitable place in the ward,” said V V Shankarwar, assistant commissioner, K West ward.

anjali.lukose@expressindia.com

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