A Pledge for a Cleaner City

Want to manage your waste responsibly, but don’t know where to start? An initiative in Bengaluru is helping the citizens understand and learn the art of composting. Through live demos and workshops, this humble project shows the way to manage your waste in a responsible way.

‘Our waste, our responsibility’ is the motto with which the residents of HSR Layout in Bengaluru have started a one of its kind composting learning school.

This learning centre, called the SwachaGraha Kalika Kendra, has been started at one of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike(BBMP) parks at HSR Layout 4th Block. The HSR citizen forum, with the help of other citizens, activists, and BBMP workers, has been able to start this innovative initiative. The MLA has also shown some great interest in the programme and thus sponsored the initiative.

It is sought out to be a practical learning experience for people to come and learn, not just one but, various different solutions to waste disposal. It showcases community and home composting solutions available in the market, with a bunch of other DIY home solutions.

“We have workshops here for the people to come and witness the whole process. We will teach them how each vendor for the community composter works.” said Chitra, a member of the HSR Citizen Forum.

It is open for the public thrice a week, where they can get a hands- on training about the different techniques of composting waste.

“We collect wet waste and kitchen waste from the neighbourhood and process it with microbes. The microbes will be in the form of microbial cocopeat,” said Chitra, a member of the HSR Citizen Forum.

The centre demonstrates aerobic composting, anaerobic composting, vermi-composting and bio-gas. Composting models developed by private companies like Shudh Labh, Stonesoup, Soil and Health are being showcased at the centre.

“The community based solutions that we have showcased here, can be easily installed in any locality or apartment. We just want to show the people how easy and beneficial for the people it is to compost our own home waste,” added Chitra.

Aerobic composting

Aerobic composting is the simplest method to start composting. It involves a few steps that can be easily performed:

  • Mix organic waste with browns like dry leaves or microbial coco-peat in a 1:3 ratio.
  • Repeat this process everyday.
  • Right moisture level and aeration is the key.
  • Add more browns to handle extra moisture and smell.
  • Leave it for four to six weeks to harvest compost.

Some of the models demonstrated for aerobic composting are:

Twin Bin FRP composter: A community composter

Stone-soup composter Aaditi: A community composter

Continuous composter: A community composter

Anaerobic composting

Anaerobic composting is a slightly different process of composting where decomposition occurs with the help of microorganisms that do not require oxygen to survive.

  • Just add wet waste and home waste into an air-tight composter.
  • Add a layer of efficient microbes powder (Bokashi powder).
  • Keep layering every day. The process of ‘pickling’ starts due to lack of oxygen.
  • After 30 days, you need to go through the aerobic process.
  • Leave it for another two weeks to harvest compost.

The Bokashi anaerobic composter

Vermi composting

Vermi composting is one of the most efficient techniques of composting, as the worms produce rich manure.

Earth worms used in vermi composting

  • The bedding has to be of a material like a corrugated sheet.
  • The bedding has to be damp and layered with leaf mulch.
  • You can add some rotten fruits and vegetables.
  • Introduce your worms after two or three days.
  • The worms produce manure that can be used for plants.

The Sintex Vermicompost Kit: For home composting

The park also showcases organic gardening. It is only an effort to tell people what they can do with the compost that they generate. These too are set up by vendors who have showcased small kitchen farms that can be easily achievable at homes and apartments.

kitchen farming showcased at the park.

“The idea is to show the public what your compost can achieve, when ready,” said Chitra.

Organic farming with the help of compost at the park

“We get very bad quality vegetables from the market these days. So, it’s better to start growing your own vegetables. The ones that are achievable at a small scale at least,” said Chitra.

Going an extra mile

The park also has a bio-gas plant in a corner that is going to be functional, with the use of raw materials such as manure, wet waste, the municipality waste, and kitchen waste.

The whole park at a glance shows the things one can achieve out of recycling waste. The park houses a store room whose roofs are by recycling tetra packs and the wall made up of swept dust and construction debris turned into bricks.

Other interesting elements in the park are installations made out of old tyres, an arch made out of colorful buckets and a lot of posters and messaging throughout the park walk-way.

The continuous efforts and the unending enthusiasm of the organizers is what makes the park more attractive. An initiative taken up for a cause like waste management is commendable as it is beneficial for both nature and us.

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About the author

Nidhi Roy