How OWCs can prevent 90 pc waste from heading to landfills

How OWCs can prevent 90 pc waste from heading to landfills

Despite the BBMP virtually abandoning the Organic Waste Converter (OWC) installed in Jayanagar, a thousand households in the 3rd and 4th Blocks have kept it going for the last two years.

 Operated by a private individual and maintained by the firm that sold the machine to the Palike, the OWC unit converts wet waste from 130 houses into compost every hour, one tonne every day.

Why can’t this be replicated across the City? If the firm, Vennar Organics, can maintain 170 such units in IT companies, hotels and apartments across the City generating an estimated 80 tonnes of manure daily, why can’t the Palike instal such OWC’s in every ward?

Fertilising gardens and landscape plants, the manure produced by the 170 OWCs are mostly consumed by the apartments and companies themselves. “The excess manure is bought back from them to be sold to farmers at Rs 3 a kilogram. But I am currently not able to meet even five per cent of the farmers’ demand,” Narendra Babu, the brains behind Vennar Organics, said.

This entrepreneur has now offered to buy back the manure from OWC customers, paying Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,500 per tonne.

Explained Babu, “I will bear the transportation cost and also provide 40 bags worth Rs 500 to ferry every tonne of the fertiliser.”

For BBMP, which currently operates only three converters in the entire City, the OWC option could have saved several thousand tonnes of wet and dry waste from heading to the landfills. Here’s why: Sixty per cent of the garbage generated in households is wet waste (vegetable, animal parts, etc) and 30 per cent is dry waste (plastic, rubber, etc) sent to recycling units. Only the remaining 10 per cent, the non-recyclable, non-biodegradable inerts (hospital waste, sanitary waste, aluminium foils, etc) need to go to the landfills. 

The Palike, suggested Babu, could start with a pilot project in at least one ward.
 “Let them start with 1,000 houses in a ward. Empower the ward’s corporator to manage it, with the residents strictly monitoring and ensuring that he / she delivers results. The manure produced could be used for gardens and parks within. The excess could be sold to farmers.”

For the record, BBMP had launched a pilot OWC for the Malleswaram market in April 2010. The OWC had cost the Palike Rs 22 lakh, but the unit fell into disuse and disrepair thereafter.

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