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Converting garbage into organic manure

Suresh Kumar Sundarani began the process of converting garbage into organic manure in 2000 when the Municipal solid waste rule was newly introduced. He was with Dhamtari Municipal Corporation in Chhattisgarh then. “We were given a deadline of December 2002 by when all the municipal corporations had to have a garbage treatment facility of their own,” he says. “We segregated every part of the garbage, converted the bio-degradable part into organic manure and in the first year itself, generated Rs8.5 lakh for Dhamtari Municipal Corporation. The next year, we generated a revenue of Rs5.5 lakh.” The project is still on and is giving revenue to the Corporation.

By 2004, Sundarani was transferred to Raigadh where he gave the contract of garbage segregation and treatment to a private operator for Rs4 lakh a month. He passed on the knowhow of the procedure to the operator this time. Sundarani says that his staff and he did not have to carry out too much research for this feat.

“It is common sense that when agro waste rots, it gets converted into manure. We, in India, have learnt it over generations as farmers have been following this technique since ages.” The only thing that his staff had to be particular about was segregating glass, plastic, iron and pebbles from the garbage. Once the waste is segregated, it is dropped into a pit to decay. Over time, it gets converted to bio-degradable manure.

As Municipal Commissioner of Durg now, Sundarani is busy adopting the same technique there too. Since the total segregation of waste has not been very successful in India, he is now busy trying a different method in Durg. Because of the mud content in the manure made from dry garbage, it was becoming difficult to sell it in the market. “Now, we are digging huge wells and filling them with sewage water. Then, we dump garbage in them,” explains Sundarani. Garbage has three components – heavy ones like glass and pebbles which settle down at the bottom; lighter ones like thermocol, etc., which float on water and bio-degradable parts like agro waste, food particles and kitchen waste which mix with water and decay. It is this bio-degradable waste which is later collected by Sundarani’s staff and dumped in another pit and processed. This process gives out saleable manure and bio-gas. It’s a win-win situation that can be easily replicated in our other cities.

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