Human waste can fuel agriculture

Co-composting of treated faecal sludge with municipal wet waste at the Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant in Devanahalli.

Co-composting of treated faecal sludge with municipal wet waste at the Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant in Devanahalli.   | Photo Credit: Handout E Mail

Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant in Devanahalli could be a model for the rest of the country

Managing the huge amount of human waste generated in a fast-growing city like Bengaluru is a major challenge. But the civic administration seems to have risen to the challenge.

A faecal sludge treatment plant (FSTP), started in Devanahalli in 2015 and now handles waste from 20,000 residences, could be a model for similar small-scale treatment plants across the country. The treated waste from the plant is being used to make manure for farmers in the neighbourhood.

The project, implemented by the local administration with the help of Bengaluru-based firm Consortium for DEWATSTM Dissemination (CDD), was among the sustainable processes discussed at the Future Earth South Asia Regional Workshop held at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change (DCCC), Indian Institute of Science, on Thursday.

CDD Reuse Team member Clara Nicolai said that faecal sludge management is an important link in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. She pointed out that many parts of India had phosphorous-deficient soil and many farmers on the outskirts of Bengaluru used untreated sludge for agriculture. "Direct use of the waste could lead to contamination of crops, but if the sludge is treated and reused in poor peri-urban regions, it will help solve the waste management problem as well as provide nutrients to the soil," she said.

A pilot project was implemented at Beedi Workers' Colony in Kengeri, before setting up the plant in Devanahalli.

FSTPs receive raw sludge from septic tanks, treat and sanitise them. The by-product, mixed with vegetable compost, can act as a good fertiliser, according to Ms. Nicolai.

Girija R., Agriculture Consultant with CDD, said that the institute had organised training workshops for farmers in Devanahalli on safe reuse practices of sludge. "We are undertaking studies for setting up more plants in peri-urban areas of Bengaluru," she said.

Karnataka has taken the lead in small-scale waste management through its Zero Discharge Policy, which stipulates that large apartments have to set up their own sewage treatment plants.

Why push for wind energy

Divecha Centre for Climate Change chairman S.K. Satheesh said their studies had shown that India would not be able to meet its energy needs in the near future if it continues to depend on coal. "The two alternatives are wind and solar energy. Considering that the efficiency of solar panels being imported to India falls over a couple of years, governments should actively promote wind energy along with solar," said Prof. Satheesh.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 10:38:26 AM |

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