Two kilometres away from Mumbai’s largest dumping ground in Deonar, residents of Sterling Apartment complex have been segregating and composting their own waste for six months now, rather than sending it to the dumping ground.
The 15-storey building has 22 families producing close to 1,500kg of waste in a month, which is being converted into 150kg of manure through four compost bins.
The manure is utilised to grow a terrace garden and around 50 potted plants within the apartment complex.
“Every day, we see thick smoke emanating from Deonar’s dumping ground and can often smell it too. But after implementing such an initiative, we are glad we are not contributing to it,” said Hashim Moizuddin, a resident of the building.
The Sterling Apartment Waste Management Project was initiated in December 2014, by resident, Priya Fonseca, who had prior experience in home composting.
Fonseca gathered 39 other residents of the building for a workshop on composting. “I think there’s no point in grumbling about the sad state of the city. The least we can do is try and manage our own waste,” said Fonseca.
While the residents manage the project, three housekeeping boys have been employed to handle the compost bins on a daily basis.
“Each family collects wet waste in their home bin; the housekeeping boys collect it and put it in one of the bins on the terrace. They then add sawdust and turn each bin three times a day,” said Fonseca.
A total cost of Rs 14,000 was incurred by the residents to procure the compost bins, while each household chipped in an additional Rs 500 for a home bin.
“Some additional money was required for tarpaulin to remove the compost, a rake and gunny sacks for sawdust. We procure the sawdust at Rs 100 per gunny. We use about four gunny sacks every month,” said Moizuddin.
The water collected at the bottom of the bins are rinsed out and used as manure, said residents.
“We have had five cycles of organic, chemical-free compost that is used by families in the building for their home plants with the help of an experienced gardener,” said Pallavi Ved, another resident.