A compost yard for converting biodegradable (kitchen waste) into manure, launched in 2008 in one of the 39 wards in Tambaram municipality, has been shut since May.

Change in contractors and a shift in solid waste management practices in the urban local body are reportedly the reasons for the shutdown of this project.

The yard in CTO Colony in ward no. 32 was constructed at a cost of Rs. 5 lakh and launched in July 2008. In 2010, a tender process was initiated and Hand-in-Hand, a Sweden-based non governmental organisation, was given the contract by the municipality to run the yard.

The NGO was engaged in the door-to-door collection of segregated garbage from 2,500 households. Collecting Rs. 25 per month from the households as user charges, the NGO converted kitchen waste into manure through vermi-composting. It also recycled plastic waste.

The NGO received Rs. 1.1 lakh a month from the municipality for running the compost yard. However, in May, the contract was terminated.

According to municipal staff, the State government’s decision to launch a waste-to-energy plant at Venkatamangalam near Vandalur was another reason for the yard in CTO Colony to be shut down.

The staff said once the plant at Venkatamangalam is commissioned, garbage generated all over Tambaram would be taken there. Further, the manure generated at the compost yard in CTO Colony does not have many takers, a point acknowledged by representatives of Hand-in-Hand too.

The municipal staff, however, added that a proposal to revive the yard had been mooted and the composting of kitchen waste was likely to resume in a month’s time. The staff said that ward no. 32 was among the biggest in the municipality and the project received public support.

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