Staff Reporter

KOCHI: District Collector M. Beena seems to be showing the way for the city folks on how to deal with the vexed issue of waste management. A biogas plant that will cater to the cooking gas needs and will generate liquid fertilizer has started functioning at the Collector’s official residence here on Tuesday.

The portable fibreglass plant designed and installed by Thiruvananthapuram-based Biotech is capable of treating between 3 kg and 5 kg of biodegradable solid waste as well as liquid waste and organic water up to 25 litres in a day.

Ms. Beena had installed a similar plant at her official residence in Thrissur during her tenure there. She was delighted to know that the one being installed here was a portable one. The plant was installed at a cost of Rs.15,200, out of which Rs.2,700 was a subsidy from the Union Ministry of Renewable Energy.

Set up on one square metre of space, it meets 50 per cent of the cooking gas needs of a three to five member family and generates liquid fertilizer high in NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) value, said A. Sajidas, director of Biotech.

The waste fed into the plant is converted into cooking gas and liquid fertilizer through an anaerobic bacterial process. He said that the by-products from the plant would help to recover the investment within 18 months.

Mr. Sajidas said that if the government were proactive biogas plants could be propagated widely.

He said that while the Ernakulam district panchayat was keenly associated with the programme, Kochi Corporation was yet to promote the cause. Under the initiative of the district panchayat biogas plants were installed in 3,000 households within its limits. In many cases the beneficiaries received two additional subsidies given by the district panchayat and the grama panchayat concerned other than the one provided by the Union government.

Biogas plants were installed in markets and slaughterhouses in six panchayats in the district during 2005-0. Similar initiatives were underway in 16 more panchayats, he said.