Ashpreet Sethi, Deccan Herald - New Delhi, Jan 11,2012
The compost greening the lawns of Kali Badi temple in Chittaranjan Park is now being recycled from garlands, flowers and fruits from nearby garbage dumps and flowers that are offered to the goddess.
The waste management project known as ‘Building Communities around Composting,’ launched by members of Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) three months ago, has helped in providing employment to people and allowed them to earn money from the compost they produce.
Environmentalists from IYCN say it is an example of decentralised waste management in Delhi where almost 8,000- 9,000 tons of waste is generated and dumped in landfills everyday.
“Members of IYCN and Shristi, an environmental NGO, set up this organic waste recycling project to create awareness among people that instead of burning waste material they can produce something useful. This project is funded by the UN Habitat’s Youth Opportunities Fund. It was difficult to get an enclosed area for this project but the temple authorities were kind to give us this space for free. In return we give the temple compost which is used by the gardeners to grow flowers in the temple vicinity,” said Pinaki Dasgupta, member IYCN knowledge centre. The compost potency has been checked by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, he added.
Bishwanath Banerjee, who was a construction labourer in Kolkata before he shifted to Delhi in search of a job, was spotted by a team of environmentalists from IYCN. This job pays Bishwanath Rs 5,000 per month. Bishwanath said he was apprehensive and did not like the job when he joined. “Initially I thought it was dirty to handle waste. But when some students came to see our work from the University of Texas some days ago, it seemed as if we are doing something important,” he said.
Parveen Paarcha, another member associated with this project, used to work for a private company which closed down during the economic recession, 2008. He now works as a supervisor at the project site.
“We generate around 80 to 90 kgs of compost everyday from 200 kgs of waste. It is an exciting opportunity, considering environmental pollution and climate change have been an important topic of discussion at present,” said Praveen. They use bio-pesticides like ‘neem’ to make the compost richer, he added.
The NGOs has opened some counters to sell the compost and generate revenue. “We have earned around Rs 3,000 from the compost in one and a half months,” said Pinaki.