Go organic: Doddaballapur’s women’s group collects organic waste from people’s homes and converts it into vermi-compost, sold at Rs five per kilogram.Waste management in Doddaballapur

There is a huge demand for vermi-compost today. Farmers who have lost their crops having made use of chemical manure and pesticide, have now realised the importance of vermi-compost. While some of them buy vermi-compost, there is a good number of farmers who prepare it themselves too.

Doddaballapur’s women’s association for development and hygiene discovered the demand for vermi-compost and have now taken to collecting organic waste from people’s homes to make compost and sell it.

The compost unit of the organisation is not a big one. Right now, waste is being gathered from five wards by the group. “We prepare at least 350 to 400 kgs of organic manure from a tonne’s waste that has been gathered,” explains Association Secretary K N Gajalakshmi.

Citizens who often complain that civic agencies don’t gather waste from dustbins on a regular basis are now relieved that the organisation comes to their doorstep to collect it. “It would be easier for us if people were to segregate waste and hand it over to us,” explains an office-bearer.

Cement tanks have been constructed by the municipality and an organisation called Swaraj, to store the waste that is gathered. The vermi-compost takes at least three months to be ready. A lot of grape farmers and people with gardens in their homes buy this compost, sold at a cost of Rs five per kilogram.

Swaraj has even hired 11 women for waste management. N C Lakshmi is the supervisor of this group. The women are trained in preparation of vermi-compost. Doddaballapur generated 38 tonnes of waste on a daily basis. At least 22 tonnes of waste generated is transferred to the waste management area near Vaddarapalya by the municipality officials. The remaining waste is dumped carelessly alongside streets. The Doddaballapur municipal council has chalked out a ‘Nirmala Nagar’ scheme. It exhorts people to segregate plastic and organic waste before it is dumped into dustbins.

The municipality also issued a circular seeking people to pay a certain amount depending on the size of their homes towards waste management, but these rules have not been implemented. The women’s group that collects waste explains that it is important that citizens co-operate in their endeavour.