The idea of zero-waste neighbourhoods is not new to Mumbai, and this has now extended to colleges as well, with several of them aiming towards zero-waste campuses.
Since February this year, 16 colleges have signed up for a project funded by Washington-based Global Environment Facility (GEF) and facilitated by Centre for Environment Education (CEE). The colleges have constructed compost pits to manage their kitchen and horticultural waste. Dry waste is collected by Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS), a non-profit organisation.
Bombay Community Public Trust, another non-profit and a partner in the scheme, helped five colleges in kicking-off the project. “We approached the college principals and pitched this idea. After they agreed to join hands, we began the project by conducting waste audits to ascertain the amount of wet and dry waste that is being generated,” said Rashmi Joshi of SMS.
So far, Ramnarain Ruia College, Ruparel College, Don Bosco Institute of Technology in Vidyavihar, Vikas College in VIkhroli, SNDT in Ghatkopar, MD College in Parel and SIES College are some of the colleges that have constructed compost pits and are using the organic compost in their college gardens.
As part of this project, colleges have also organised lectures to inform students about segregating waste. Each college generates an average of 40-50 kg wet waste and around 20-30 kg dry waste per day, according to audits carried out by SMS.
Ramnarain Ruia College, one of the earliest to join the zero-waste project, has even allowed students to sell the surplus compost. “We have a Green Ruia Club and the waste management project draws in many students. We recycle our paper waste and the recycled products are used in our college,” said Leena Phadke, associate professor, microbiology department. Among all the colleges that have a functioning compost pit, Ruia College generates the maximum wet waste of 70kg per day.
According Prabhjot Sodhi, programme manager, GEF -small grants programme for CEE, who is facilitating the implementation of the programme, the project is co-financed so that colleges to pitch in and it is sustainable. “We entered into an agreement with colleges to make the project sustainable. The systematic waste management will stop burning of dry waste and also encourage young people to do their bit for the environment,” said Sodhi.
Colleges with functioning compost pits
Ramnarain Ruia College, Ruparel College, Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Gurunanak College in GTB Nagar, SIES in Sion, SNDT in Ghatkopar, Bhaurao Patil College in Vashi, Indian Institute of Population Sciences in Deonar, Jai-Hind College, Vikas College in Vikhroli
Colleges where pits have been constructed but are not functioning
Kiriti College, St.Andrews College, Rajiv Gandhi College in Vashi, Wilson College, Narayan Guru College in Chembur, DAV College in Bhandup
College that generates maximum waste
* Ramnarain Ruia College
* Wet Waste: 70kg/per day
* Dry waste: 25-30kg/per day
* Horticulture waste: 5kg/per day