Bandra bldg uses its garbage to grow its food | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Bandra bldg uses its garbage to grow its food

Two months ago, Vivek Gilani, 35, gave up his parking space in his building. Gilani sacrificed the much-valued parking spot to grow a 64 sq ft vegetable garden in the building compound.

mumbai Updated: Jun 05, 2012 01:03 IST
Payoshaa Shah

Two months ago, Vivek Gilani, 35, gave up his parking space in his building. Gilani sacrificed the much-valued parking spot to grow a 64 sq ft vegetable garden in the building compound.

For more than a year, residents of Joy Apartments have been composting their wet waste and using it to nourish a vegetable garden in their compound. The residents first separate the organic 'wet' waste such as vegetable skins and leftover food from the dry waste, which includes plastic, glass and metal cans. "It is important to separate waste at source because when plastic mixes with organic waste, it becomes hard to recycle," Gilani said.

Each home first stores the wet waste in an open earthen pot with a sieve to remove extra water. Each home then dumps this waste into a 50-litre capacity plastic drum located at the back of the building to allow the waste to be processed. Every three months, contents of the drum are transferred into pots in which the process proceeds passively and the compost is cured of pathogens. After four weeks, the nutrient-rich cured compost is added to the soil of the vegetable garden where brinjals, lady-fingers, spinach, tomatoes are among the many vegetables planted.

"This is an elegant solution to tackle both the waste disposal problem and food scarcity problem. For a clean and green Mumbai, just setting up many dust-bins is not enough," said Mustafa Gilani, 65, president of Bandra Joy Premises Housing Society.

Sweepers collect the dry waste while the residents salvage tetra packs and milk cans. "We take the tetra packs to our local Sahakari Bhandar which gives us recycled notebooks and paper napkins in exchange," said Reema Gilani, 38, who runs a garment business.

The composting process greatly reduces the volume of garbage sent to landfills sites. "Each home usually creates 180kg of waste a year. After decomposition, the waste reduces in volume and about 90kg of compost is produced. The compost can be sold as a fertiliser but we have enough requirement for it in our gardens," said Vivek.