Each time you buy organic fertilisers of Jibon Jyoti brand, you are contributing to protection of urban environment. The fertiliser, being produced by Uttarpara-Kotrung municipality of Hooghly district, is made from bio-degradable solid waste collected from six municipalities. The project has now drawn the attention of world environment groups and selected to compete with similar projects of two first world cities — Milan and Auckland — for an international award on best practices in solid waste management.
The initiative in Hooghly is part of the Rs 170-crore Kolkata Solid Waste Management Improvement Project and covers the civic bodies of Uttarpara-Kotrung, Konnagar, Rishra, Serampore, Baidyabati and Champdani. It has been funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
A drive down the 20-km stretch between Uttarpara and Baidyabati along the west bank of the Hooghly river will show the results of the path-breaking initiative. Any resident of the towns down the road will agree that their neighbourhoods were far from being clean even five years ago.
Onkar Singh Meena, secretary of the state’s municipal affairs department and chief executive officer of Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), is to attend the finale of the competition in New Mexico City, with Dilip Yadav, the chairman of Uttarpara-Kotrung municipality. The awards ceremony is scheduled for December 1.
Incidentally, the achievement of the Hooghly project comes in the backdrop of India’s dismal record in solid waste management. The country manages to treat only 29% of the total municipal waste it generates every day. While the Hooghly project has been selected in the C40 Cities category, awards are given in 10 categories altogether. But no other city from India has been selected in any other category.
“We segregate bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable waste at their sources that is every household. Each house has been given two separate bins to keep the two kinds of waste. The non-degradable ones are dumped at a filling station and the bio-degradable waste is used to produce organic fertilisers, which is already available in the market,” Yadav said.
Meena told HT that JICA’s funding is to end in July next year and the six municipalities will run the system on their own after then. “The KMDA and the municipal affairs department will provide technical and financial support. The chief minister herself is very keen on having such environment-friendly waste management systems. Many similar projects are in the pipeline for other urban areas near Kolkata,” he said.