Even as the Chandigarh administration draws elaborate plans for segregation of waste and its disposal, many individuals and institutions in the tricity have already taken the lead with their waste-to-compost solutions.

The neighbouring Western Command headquarters in Chandimandir is a trailblazer in this field, as are many schools and hospitals. A one-acre park in Sector 7, Panchkula, has been composting its horticultural waste for over two years now. As many as 23 institutions have taken to in-house composting in Chandigarh. In Mohali, this number stands at 21. Fortis too is all set to inaugurate its waste-to-compost plant this Thursday.

Jyoti Arora, an expert who has facilitated the composting project in Western Command and Field Hospital, Ambala, makes a compelling case for composting when she says, “What we generate as waste at home is mostly biodegradable. If we dump kitchen waste or biodegradable trash into a pit, it will convert into compost, which is a boon for the soil.”

Will halve the garbage

Arora, who runs Daily Dump, has installed earthen pots for composting in a large number of residences and institutions of the tricity.

“It is a great way to reduce the pressure on our landfills. Imagine, if we all start composting our kitchen and garden waste, the city’s daily garbage output will fall by one-third, if not halve.”

Aarti Bansal, a Panchkula-based chartered accountant with a composting pit in her backyard, swears by its efficacy in keeping her garden and kitchen clean. “I feel if everyone starts managing their own foliage and green waste, the city will be a much cleaner place.”

Glut of green waste

Horticulturists say composting is essential in the tricity that boasts over 3,600 parks.

“Parks and streets generate a lot of green waste, which can be composted instead of being throwing into a landfill,” says Mukesh Garg, head of horticulture wing, Mohali.

G S Chahal, retired director of Punjab Animal Husbandry department, and his team will agree. The team started composting in a public park opposite House No 319-321, Sector 7, Panhkula, over two years ago. They dug up 3-foot-deep and 20-foot-long trenches in two corners and killed two birds with one stone. Residents say these not only take care of their green waste, but also meet the manure needs of the park.

Shivalik Public School of Mohali has also started composting its waste. “We dump wet waste from out hostels and horticulture waste from our gardens in the plant and use the manure in our herbal garden, parks, and green house,” says Anupkiran Kaur, the principal, who is thrilled by the fact that most of the waste generated on the campus is converted into manure.

Ranjit Bedi, principal of Gian Jyoti Public school, says she installed the waste-to -compost plant for two reasons. “One, to manage the school’s waste, majority of which was wet and green. Another reason was to sensitise children about ways to manage garbage,” she said.

Jyoti Arora says composting is not merely for people living in houses with lawns. “Even a person living in one-room apartment can manage his wet waste. All he needs is some earthen pots to dump his waste. “

Mohali takes the lead

Mohali, which was left red-faced when it lost its first position to Bathinda in the Swachhata Survekshan, is taking the help of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) to rope in households for its waste-to-manure programme. Inderjeet Kaur, the PMIDC official supervising this programme, says if even 5% of Mohali households are roped in for composting, the town will improve its ranking.

In a pilot project, the Mohali Municipal Corporation has been installing pits in Sector 67. Waste generated from the town will be separated and the biodegradable waste dumped in these pits for composting. The corporation has dug 10 such pits and waste segregated from households in Phase 9 and 10 will be composted here in the next two months.

Inderjeet Kaur says installation of a small plant to manage 100 kilos of waste a day is cost-effective as well. “You need a one-time investment of maximum Rs. 15, 000. And it takes around two months for the manure to be ready.”

Solution to every waste

Kaur says there are two types of pits. One is above the ground for composting kitchen waste, while the other used for composting garden waste is semi-underground.

“There is a solution to every kind of waste,” says Arora, who is in favour of segregating glass, bulbs, tubes and other electrical waste as well. “If you install separate bins for various kinds of waste, the garbage that finally goes to Daduumajra will be very little, “says Arora, who swears by the three Rs–reuse, reduce, and recycle.

Several private players in the market have come up with different types of machinery to dispose of waste. “These machines are being installed by several schools, commercial institutions as per their capacity,” said Ashish Awasthi, a consultant, adding, “The minimum investment is around Rs 50,000.”

For those wondering what to with the manure, worry not. You can use it your pots and garden. And if you are facing a glut, go sprinkle it in your favourite neighbourhood park. Remember, it’s payback time.

The MC rules

Chandigarh MC has framed strict rules making it mandatory for bulk generators of waste to undertake in-house processing. MC defines bulk generators as those units, which produce more than 100 kilos of waste a day. As per the public notice, all commercial, institutional, multi-storey buildings, religious and government undertakings are covered under it.

These include cooperative group housing societies having more than 300 flats or built on an area of more than 5,000 square metres; hospitals and nursing homes with more than 200 beds; stadia, sports complexes, clubs, marriage halls, besides hostels, schools, colleges, universities, educational and training institutions with more than 500 students.

It also includes restaurants having a seating capacity of more than 200, and malls built up on an area of more than 5,000 sq metres besides railway stations, bus stations and airports.

First Published: Sep 19, 2018 11:31 IST

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