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Wet waste row: Bigger housing societies sitting on tonnes of compost and struggling to find buyers, claim societies

‘Compost generation a costly proposition with spending of Rs 50,000 per month and earning barely Rs 2,000 every month’

3,500 kg compost lying idle in a Park Royal society of Rahatni (Express)

As the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s (PCMC) deadline of not lifting wet garbage from big residential housing societies from October 2 comes near, various federations representing the housing societies in Pimpri-Chinchwad are facing the problem of accumulation of compost generated through wet-waste processing plants.

The federations pointed out that bigger housing societies are currently sitting on tonnes of compost and struggling to find takers. The compost generation has become a costly proposition with societies spending Rs 50,000 per month and earning barely Rs 2,000 every month, they claimed.

“Some societies that were set up after Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, came into force have wet waste processing system. They convert it into compost. Some compost is used for gardens inside the society but the rest of it has no takers and gets accumulated within the society premises,” said Sanjeev Sangale, chairman of Chikhli-Moshi Pimpri-Chinchwad Housing Societies Federation.

At a housing society in the Rahatni area of Pimpri-Chinchwad, residents are grappling with the problem of tonnes of compost lying idle as there are no takers.

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“We have 832 flats. In 2018, we started the project of converting wet waste into compost. Every day, our society’s waste generation is around 250 kg. Of this, we generate 800 kg of compost every month,” said Uday Sabde, Secretary of Park Royal Cooperative Society.

The society spent Rs 15 lakh to set up the garbage to compost generation system. “It is not what the PCMC wants us to believe. The entire operation is expensive. We had to spend Rs 15 lakh for the system then we had to appoint a contractor,” said Sabde.

The contractor appointed employees to operate the system. “We pay Rs 25,000 every month to the contractor. Besides, ingredients like bacteria-based power and other material required for generating compost cost Rs 20,000. Annually, we spend over Rs 5 lakh for converting wet waste into compost. Monthly, we are spending around Rs 50,000, which is an additional burden on the society besides the expenditure for power, electricity, elevators, garden and maintenance,” he said.

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But the compost generated has very few takers. “We sell it to our society members or some nurseries. Currently, we get only Rs 1,000-2,000 every month,” added Sabde.

This has led to friction among society members. “The members are questioning the society committee about the need for such a huge expenditure… It is an additional and unnecessary expenditure. PCMC must find a way out of this,” he said, adding that currently there is 3,500 kg of compost lying idle for the past four months.

Dattatraya Deshmukh, chairman of Pimpri-Chinchwad Cooperative Housing Societies Federation, said PCMC should shoulder the responsibility of disposing of the compost or purchasing the compost.

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“Some solution will have to be found for the compost that will be generated through wet waste processing plants. We are against PCMC making it mandatory for housing societies to look after their wet waste. We strongly feel that PCMC should take up the responsibility of converting waste into compost. If it sets up its wet waste processing plants in a ward-wise manner, it will do everything to dispose of the compost. For instance, PCMC has 180 civic gardens. It can use the compost in these gardens. But how will housing societies generating over 500 kg of compost every month will deal with it?” he asked.

PCMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ajay Charthankar said, “If societies find it difficult to carry out the entire process, then they should hand it over to private parties, who are charging much less. We will be holding discussions about this with the society members and will try to find a solution to their problem.”

First published on: 26-09-2022 at 10:37:37 pm
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