Green Neighbourhoods Chennai

A new beginning to a composting initiative

First-time visitors to RWD Lemongraz can mistake an enclosed space for a generator room. Or any other regular facility. A poster “We have Earth and no Planet B” is a strong hint of what lies inside.

Still, in most probability, not many may associate the space with composting, the reason being that the 129-unit gated community at Kallikuppam in Ambattur is just a year old.

The wet waste generated by the community is being composted at this enclosed space.

When the residents received the keys to their flats, they started out with a green advantage.

In November, when the State Government relaxed various lockdown restrictions, the developer opened the composting facility even as many residents started taking possession of their flats.

(The apartment is still under the maintenance of the developer and a residents’ association is yet to be formed).

“More than 90% of the flats are occupied and the developer, who has established a similar in situ composting facility at another project in Chennai, wanted to promote source segregation among residents,” says Senthil T, general manager, facility, RWD Lemongraz.

A new beginning to a composting initiative

Residents received blue and green bins for them to segregate the waste to be handed over to the house-keeping staff, who carry out door-to-door garbage collection within a stipulated time.

The process

The organic waste is brought to the composting facility where it is shredded in an eco-friendly waste converter and mixed with saw dust before being placed in the curing tank.

“Another layer of waste will be added the next day, after following the same process. Once the cement tank fills up, it is kept closed for 20 days,” says Senthil, adding that 15 kilos of compost has been generated since the initiative was launched, and used in the garden.

Getting residents to see the merits of in situ composting facility took some doing.

“Many residents had objected to the idea that it would exude a foul smell but we have proved them wrong,” says Senthil.

When the residents had barely moved, the facilities team went to every house and handed out literature about source segregation.

While non-biodegradable waste like paper and plastic are given to recyclers once a month, solid waste like diapers are wrapped separately and collected by the Corporation’s conservancy workers.

“If a household does not segregate waste, we meet them in person and explain the importance of this exercise. If they continue to not segregate waste, we post messages on the WhatsApp group without mentioning the flat number that waste from such families would not be collected,” says Senthil, adding that the response so far has been encouraging.

R. Ravi Kumar, a resident, believes the composting facility would turn out to be a big boon in the long run.

“At my previous apartment, we segregated waste but depended on conservancy workers for waste collection. If they did not turn up, there would be a problem on our hands,” says Ravi Kumar.

To ensure every resident takes up waste management in earnest, residents have drafted a bye-law.

Ravi Kumar explains, “Even if the owner is letting out his flat for rent, they partly share the responsibility for ensuring that the tenant continues waste segregation.”

(‘Green Neighbourhoods’ spotlights initiatives that communities are persisting with, despite the pandemic)


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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 9:50:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/quick-off-the-blocks/article34398794.ece

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