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Mumbai’s colleges get eco-friendly, help citizens to segregate waste and recycle

City’s colleges get into recycling, composting, rainwater harvesting to reduce the need to transport large quantities of garbage to far-off dumps

mumbai Updated: Nov 13, 2017 10:40 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
biogas plants,BMC,National College
Bandra’s R D National College students conducting an energy audit.(HT)

As the city prepares for the enforcement of waste segregation rules, its colleges are helping citizens implement the new laws on garbage management.

Bandra’s R D National College, which has been familiarising its students with waste segregation habits and the importance of recycling, will also help housing societies in the area implement the idea. Using two electric scooters donated by an alumni, the college plans to encourage residents to segregate wet and dry waste. Wet organic waste, largely food waste and garden trimmings, will be turned into manure in the composting pits set up in the college campus.

“Our dry waste is recycled by an agency authorised by the civic body. Wet waste, especially from the canteen, goes into the vermi-compost pit. Cooked waste from the canteen goes into the compost tumbler. If we get a good response from the neighbouring societies, we are ready to set up more compost tumblers,” said Mona Kejriwal, a professor. The college has also kept separate bins for e-waste all over the campus.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s environment status report 2016-17, Mumbai generates 9,400 metric tonnes (MT) of waste daily, which is sent to the Deonar, Kanjurmarg and Mulund dumps. They are, however, saturated, forcing the city to look at alternatives.

Recycling and composting can reduce the need to transport large quantities of garbage to far-off dumps. The Municipal Solid Waste Management, Rules, 2000, which were notified last year make it compulsory for all local bodies to scientifically treat waste, and provide infrastructure for its segregation, collection and transportation. The BMC has said it will stop collecting garbage from housing societies, educational institutions and office complexes from January 2, 2018.

RD National College and its National Service Scheme unit have introduced an in-house internship programme for students to participate in solid waste management. The internship encourages students to participate in a ‘waste-water-energy’ audit of the institute, and expects them to come up with solutions for waste management. “This is part of our learning techniques that help students understand the practical aspects of what they learn in class,” said Vibha Mehra, an professor from the institute.

Other colleges affiliated to the University of Mumbai have also set up compost pits. Matunga’s DG Ruparel College was one of the city’s first education institutes to install a rainwater harvesting system in a residential building on campus in 2008.The neighbouring Wellingkar Institute of Management installed a biogas unit that uses wet waste generated in the cafeteria to produce clean energy that can fulfil a part of the institute’s energy needs.

“Such moves are the only way to save the environment. We need to start these lessons in our classrooms. We expect our students to encourage more people to think this way,” said Sobhana Vasudevan, principal of R A Podar College. Podar also puts the waste from its canteen in a compost pit, which produces manure for their garden. “A cleanliness brigade comprising students not only survey the college but also tell neighbouring societies about the importance of solid waste management,” she added.

A handful of colleges, including institutes in the Somaiya Campus, Vidya Vihar, have installed waste water treatment units inside their campus. “All the chemical water is treated and recycled to be used in our garden. We have eight compost pits and a biogas plant. We ensure that students are thinking of ways to conserve the environment,” said Vijay Joshi, principal, K J Somaiya College.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 10:40 IST