While most of the societies that treat wet waste on their premises use the compost in their own gardens, others hand over the compost to the civic garden department for green spaces in the vicinity. A few societies even generate excess compost and sell it to people who own farmhouses.
Housing societies with about 100 flats usually generate 100kg waste daily.
Amaltas housing society located on Juhu-Versova Link Road has placed six tumblers where residents dump wet waste and the compost is used in their gardens. “We started composting our wet waste around two years ago,” said Daisy Arora, a managing committee member of the society that has three buildings. “We use the compost in the gardens, where we have also planted medicinal and herbal plants. The additional compost is used in the green spaces in the area.”
Commercial complexes are also making the best out of waste and leading the way in south Mumbai is the 12-storey Mittal Chambers at Nariman Point, which has installed a bio-composting machine on its premises.
Parag Udani, secretary of Mittal Chambers, pointed out that waste generation at a commercial space is comparatively lesser than on a residential premises. “We have around 110 offices, which on an average generate 50kg of garbage,” said Udani. “The waste is put into the the bio-composting machine, which we procured a few months ago at a cost of Rs 4 lakh, and the compost generated is given to the BMC garden department for use in green spaces in the vicinity.” Kunti Oza, chairperson of Clean Mumbai Foundation who has also worked closely on this project, said bio-composting machine is a ‘neat and clean’ technology. “It turns garbage into soil additive within 24 hours, which then needs to be mixed with water and used in gardens,” said Oza.
Deonar’s Dattaguru Society, which consists of 155 row houses spread across 13 acres, has been bio-composting waste since 2001. “With most homes having their own gardens, residents use the manure. We also sell the excess compost at Rs 10-15 per kg to people who own farmhouses outside the city,” said Vandana Desai, chairman of Clean Deonar Forum.
Stree Mukti Sanghatana president Jyoti Mhapsekar, who has been working in the waste management sector since two decades, said the municipality should make provisions to retrieve the excess compost from housing societies. “Every area in the city has green spaces. The compost from housing societies could be used there, but only after quality tests are done,” she said.
A senior civic official said BMC currently has no plans to take compost from housing societies that treat their wet waste. “We have already sent out notices to societies generating over 100kg of waste daily that from October 2, they will have to treat their own garbage. We have no plan yet to take back the compost they would generate,” said the official. Around 7,800 tonnes of garbage is generated daily in the city, most of it unsegregated. It is taken to the three dumping grounds—Deonar, Mulund and Kanjurmarg.
(This is the second part of a series on waste segregation)