Decentralised processing units help tackle city’s mounting waste

Several localities have installed lane composters to manage their garbage

July 23, 2019 12:59 am | Updated 12:59 am IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka : Bengaluru : 21/12/2018 : Picture to go with Chitra Ramani leaf composting story, :   Padmashree who is she resident of Koramangala making leaf composting in Bengaluru on Friday 21 December 2018. Photo : Sudhakara Jain / The Hindu.

Karnataka : Bengaluru : 21/12/2018 : Picture to go with Chitra Ramani leaf composting story, : Padmashree who is she resident of Koramangala making leaf composting in Bengaluru on Friday 21 December 2018. Photo : Sudhakara Jain / The Hindu.

The city has a monumental waste problem. Not only is the level of segregation of waste at source woefully low, but there are shortfalls in door-to-door collection of waste, and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is grappling with the challenge.

Pitching in are many communities across the city, who have now come together to put in place decentralised waste-processing units to better manage the waste generated themselves.

Several localities in the city, including H.S.R. Layout, Sadashivnagar, RMV Dollar’s Colony, and Koramangala, have installed lane composters. The communities have taken ownership of the waste that is generated and are composting them. In each of these cases, the resident volunteers take charge and are maintaining and monitoring the lane composters.

But the concept of lane composters is not new to the city; many of these localities took up the initiative two to three years ago.

Anupama Harish from the Sadashivnagar Residents’ Welfare Association told The Hindu that it was around two years ago that the residents decided to install lane composters as a solution to process the dry leaves. “We noticed truck loads of dry leaves were just dumped and transported along with the garbage. We installed six lane composters and then identified one person who was assigned the responsibility of monitoring each of the composters.”

Kitchen waste too

Though initially installed to manage leaf waste, the composters now collect even the kitchen waste from households. The compost that is generated is given away, though some people pay a nominal amount if they wish to. The money is then used to buy coco peat, which is used to hasten the composting process.

The Koramangala RWA too installed lane composters in the area. That apart, nearly three tonnes of wet waste generated in some neighbourhoods in Koramangala’s 5th and 6th Blocks is processed and converted to biogas in a unit that has been installed in the SWM Centre on Hosur Road. The biogas is piped to a popular eatery in the area.

Padmashree Balaram from the Koramangala RWA said the biogas plant is a collaboration between the RWA, the BBMP and Carbon Masters India Pvt. Ltd. The effort was recently recognised by the German government, which even presented an award to the initiative.

According to Lalitha Mondreti, who is part of the Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT), the H.S.R. Citizens’ Forum installed around 12 lane composters in many parts of H.S.R. Layout around two years ago. Though many of the composters are in Sector 3, others are spread out in other sectors, she said.

Kalika Kendra

H.S.R. Layout also has the distinction of having a Swachha Graha Kalika Kendra, a one-of-a-kind park that displays different composting solutions.

“In the eight months since it opened, we have had several foreign delegations, commissioners of other urban local bodies from across the country, RWAs from different parts of the city, apart from schoolchildren visiting the kendra to learn more about home composting and decentralised composting/processing of waste,” she said, adding that even officials of the BBMP have been directed to visit the centre for training sessions.

Free sessions

“We also hold free composting and kitchen gardening sessions on the last Sunday of every month. We get at least 60 registrations every month, which shows that people are ready to manage their waste, rather than depend on the corporation,” Ms. Mondreti said.

BBMP officials said urban local bodies, especially the civic body, cannot afford to depend on landfills and quarries any more. As per regulations laid down by the National Green Tribunal and SWM Rules, decentralised processing is the only long-term solution to waste management.

Officials said the civic body is encouraging more neighbourhoods and localities to have local composting units, either biogas or lane composters.

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