TAMIL NADU

Making money out of vegetable waste

Staff Reporter

Programme integrates environmental education with community action

DINDIGUL: Does safe disposal of domestic and kitchen wastes bring income to homemakers?

Yes, says G. Meenakshi, resident of Kalimuthu Pillai lane in the district. “That too without any financial investment. My only input is vegetable wastes generated in the kitchen and my leisure time, nothing else.”

She sells organically grown vegetables to neighbours.

She is one of the 125 prospective homemakers to set up a kitchen garden or a terrace garden utilising two feet wide corridors to 90 sq. ft small terraces under CLEAN-India, a programme integrating environmental education with community action, an initiative of Delhi-based NGO Development Alternatives.

Several housewives and working women, engaged in this mission, say they do not throw domestic wastes on the street. “We dump wastes under plants instead of street corners, as manure,” says R. Rosali, schoolteacher.

This programme not only attracts housewives but also retired professors, government staff and businessmen.

While Jayanthi Prabha has converted her small terrace into a garden that meets her vegetable needs, Geervani and Meenakshi have gone one step further and set up a vermicompost yard to make organic manure. Ms. Meenakshi even convinced her neighbours to supply vegetable wastes to manage her growing manure needs.

Gandhigram Trust, implementing agency, has distributed seeds, organic manure and soil freely to enthusiastic women. Within six months, the beneficiaries have started reaping the benefits.

“On seeing my corridor garden, many people in our area want to set up a similar one,” says Balakumar, retired Professor.

“It is a zero-cost cultivation and the waste is managed at source itself. Our aim is to make Dindigul a litter-free zone,” says G. Ramadoss, project executive. “We have plans to involve more people this year.”

Usha Srinivasan of Development Alternatives says: “We have plans to implement waste management on a large-scale, We have created awareness on effective use of wastes among the people. Now, we try to involve government bodies to make Dindigul and Palani municipalities clean and green. Preliminary talks are on to chalk out an action plan.”

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