Poultry matter: How this Pune society achieved zero garbage
Constructed in 1993, Shanta Niketan Housing Society has 224 units including 11 shopsUpdated: Jun 15, 2019 14:54 IST
What used to be a muck-filled corner of Bopodi’s Shanta Niketan Housing Society, is now a beautiful garden space with 98 chickens. The garden space is utilised by both adults and kids. However, in an urban society, these chickens seem to be a misfit for their setting, but they are there for a reason- to achieve zero garbage waste.
Constructed in 1993, Shanta Niketan Housing Society has 224 units including 11 shops. The society has been segregating waste since 2019, but, vermicomposting had become a problem with rodents and foul smell emitting due to the composting process. “You need to monitor the compost and though we were getting a rebate, we were not generating enough manure,” said Tirth Prasad Mukherjee, chairman of the society.
In October 2018, the residents began to think of alternative ways of disposing 80kg of daily wet garbage, which was generated by the society. It was then, when Mita Shah, a society member, came up with the idea of approaching this garbage problem by using poultry.
“I had read some research about chickens helping in clearing garbage and approached the society committee members with this idea. Initially there were negative replies, but, the chairman agreed to begin this method on a small scale as an experiment,” said Shah.
Thomas Mony, a member of the society and Shah together worked on this idea. They visited the government-run poultry outlet in Shivajinagar and purchased 25 one-day-old chicks for Rs 20 each. These chicks were cared for and vaccinated. “Chickens are the only birds which can consume things in any form. We met with the poultry staff and understood how it works and with their guidance began taking care of the chicks,” said Mony.
Explaining the process Mony said, “Usually it takes 45 days to for converting garbage into manure. However, chickens need only 24 hours to clear 80kg of wet garbage into manure with their faeces. However, there is a foul smell emitting from their faeces, but by using dry leaves collected from the garden, we have almost eliminated the smell too thus helping create a better cycle of composting.”
“With the help of a shredder and active participation of the society maintenance staff, the society managed to find an innovative way to keep the problem of disposing of wet garbage. Now, the once deserted back garden is brimming with plants and 98 chickens,” said Mony
Mony further added, “The added benefits of having chickens is that the society members also get to enjoy organic eggs and chicken meat once the chicken has crossed six months to a year.”
“Despite the project being a success and getting noticed by the officials of the Swachh Survekshan, some society members are objecting to the project. Though we have received excellent support and encouragement from local Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) ward, plus 5% rebate in our taxes, and verbal accolades from the Swachh Bharat Mission audit team, I have received objections to this well-researched innovative zero garbage waste disposal project. Due to these objections, I had to issue a show-cause notice to the team who handle the project,” said Mukherjee.