Waste makes airport plants bloom

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindutan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2016 00:43 IST

Ever wondered what keeps hedgerows and plants at the Mumbai airport’s new T2 in the green of their health? An in- house waste disposal plant, facing the Kurla-end of the secondary runway, generates compost to cater to the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s (CSIA) green cover — a move which will encourage other organisations to adopt similar eco-friendly measures.

Besides the airport, more than 50 restaurants contribute their food waste to the treatment plant.

The plant, which began functioning six months ago, now generates up to 600kg of compost daily. “It’s like urea,” said the supervisor at the plant.

Every day, tempos filled with disposable vegetables, fruit peels and food leftovers collected from restaurants head to the processing plant.

The waste is first dumped on strainer shaped like a snooker table for drying before loading it into compost machine.

Manure is used once a week on the airport’s vast collection of plants. At T2, greenery with 77,000 plants of more than 100 species can be seen at terminal passages, food courts, car park and runways — collectively about 90,000 square metres.

Talking about the food composing project, a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson said, “We are committed towards the environment and have been taking all possible steps to conserve nature. The organic waste facility is one of the key initiatives that have been helping us contribute towards this cause. Sustainability remains a core value at our organisation.”

Mumbai airport produces 1.4 tonnes of food waste every day, said airport officials. The food waste, however, is a fraction of the garbage generated at the airport. Bags and other kinds of plastic are about nine tonnes a day. This waste goes to recycling agencies.

“Before the facility was installed, the solid waste was segregated and 80% of the waste was recycled. This mainly consisted of paper, plastics, cardboard, wooden packaging materials, etc. The food waste was taken away by the civic body’s appointed agency,” added airport officials.

Independent green experts said that in-house waste management by big institution such as airports, schools and huge residential complexes is a good move.

“Having an in-house waste disposal facility helps you save the carbon emissions caused in transportation of the waste,” said Monisha Narke, founder of RUR Greenlife Pvt Ltd, a Mahim-based company that offers sustainable waste management solutions.

She, however, added that there should be model set ups for waste management at places that generate large qualities of wastes.

“But it is more essential that people’s mindset change,” she said.

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