Officers from Dahisar police station are getting their hands dirty, literally, for a good cause.
The cops have set an example for the civilians in their jurisdiction by converting the biodegradable waste generated by the police canteen into compost.
The inspiration behind this initiative was based on the curiosity and the fascination of a head constable, who overheard a seminar on environmental awareness in a school where he was deployed for Class 12 exams.
“I was guarding the main gate when I overheard the seminar. I liked the idea immensely. I approached our senior inspector and requested him to start a similar initiative at our police station as well,” said head constable Bajai Jagtap from Dahisar police station. “It is simple and doable for every citizen of the country. They just have to decide to do something good.”
Senior police officials immediately acceded to the idea and sought help from Eco-ROX, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), for setting up the project. The NGO also received support from the civic body’s solid waste management department.
Since the project’s launch on March 23, policemen have been dumping more than 4 kg of dry leaves, flowers and canteen waste in a 3x2 feet compost box daily.
“We call it a ‘waste to wealth’ project. We trained a few of the police personnel in composting process. They were eager to learn and put it to practice,” said Rashmi Joshi, joint secretary, Eco-ROX. She is the same person whose lecture influenced Jagtap.
Kanhaiyaram Telang, who volunteers for the composting process, said he thought it will just be a couple of days’ work and they will get the compost.
“When they [NGO] explained the process, I thought we just have to do it once and we will get the compost the next day or a day after that,” said Telang, adding, “I love the fact that the waste will be reused as fertiliser for plants. It is a satisfactory feeling to know that we’ll be doing our bit to protect the environment.”
Telang first spreads dry leaves evenly inside the compost box and adds the bacterial culture provided by the NGO followed by cow dung, which forms the base layer of the compost.
Inspector (Crime) Uday Shirke said he was delighted to see the initiative being implemented on the premises. “I do composting at my ancestral home. In a city like Mumbai, you seldom get to see things like these,” Shirke said, adding, “One should do whatever they can for the environment. That is the least one can do.”
A senior municipal official said it was one of the best examples, as the move was initiated by the police themselves. “This is a special occasion for the city, as public servants are setting an example for public. Anyone who does his bit for the environment is a hero,” said a senior BMC official.
The official added, “Development can be sustained only if everyone participates and have the right mindset. Managing waste at residential and public-level is the need of the hour for the city. Waste management in urban areas is important. It will help the city breathe.”
The cops are now looking forward to reap rich dividends for their efforts and are keen on increasing the production by adding more compost boxes on their premises.