A green, solid in-waste-ment | delhi | Hindustan Times
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A green, solid in-waste-ment

It was about three years ago that 16-year-old Raoul Mehra decided to do his bit to save the environment.

delhi Updated: Feb 17, 2010 00:11 IST

It was about three years ago that 16-year-old Raoul Mehra decided to do his bit to save the environment. “I realized discussing the issue was not enough,” says the teenager. How Raoul decided to live his philosophy was through the concept of vermicomposting.

“The idea came from a presentation at our school, it was an easy and inexpensive step towards helping the environment,” says the class 12 student of The Shri Ram School, Moulsari Avenue.

“Everyone can practise vermicomposting at their home. All they need is the will to help make this world a better place to live in,” says Raoul who practices it on the terrace of his Vasant Vihar home. Vermicomposting — or organic decomposition with the help of worms — can be carried out in an old flowerpot, a trunk, or any unused box. One can even buy vermicomposting boxes from the market. The box is half-filled with dried leaves, a little manure and earthworms.

The rest of the box is layered with leftover raw fruit, vegetables, tea leaves and eggshells. One should try to avoid cooked food or meat since they decompose very fast. After the box is filled, it is covered and the earthworms start working on the waste. It takes about six to eight weeks for the waste to turn into manure.

Mehra sells this manure to friends and neighbours and contributes the proceeds from the sales towards the education of the underprivileged girl child.

“We have a programme called Vidya in schools which works towards the education of girl children from economically weaker sections: I give the money there.” Selling the manure has not been very difficult, says Raoul.

Benu Bharany, 47, an avid gardener, who has been purchasing manure produced by Raoul for a year says, “The manure is totally organic and it has given me wonderful results.” Raoul plans to approach his neighbours to convert them to vermicomposting.

“Every day each household roughly produces 1.5 kg of waste which would amount to 1.5 tonne of waste per household per year,"” says Raoul.

“The waste can be used in a meaningful manner. People are not even aware about the simple ways in which they can make a difference,” he said.

Deepika Mehra, Raoul’s mother, 44, a businesswoman says, “The school has been really instrumental in spreading awareness about such environment-friendly initiatives by educating the child and through them the society at large. I feel very proud at what Raoul is doing at such a young age.”