Converting Waste into Wealth

Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat
Recently a Jammu based newspaper had carried a news-article about dumping of organic waste by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) at  Achan Landfill site. According to the article tons of bio degradable waste generated at Parimpora Fruit / Vegetable mandi in Srinagar is lifted by SMC vehicles on daily basis and instead to processing this waste , authorities are allegedly carrying it to landfill site.  I had also written a piece on a similar issue last year. I won’t only blame SMC for this unscientific activity but the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) is also involved in  a similar activity after lifting organic waste from Narwal mandi.
Few years back during the apple harvest time I visited Parimpora fruit  mandi in Srinagar . Heaps of rotten fruit and vegetables were emitting a pungent smell. I saw some men probably from Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) loading  this waste inside a lorry . The vehicle was already carrying a huge quantity of polythene and all kinds of non bio degradable waste.  When I saw all the rotten fruit and vegetables being loaded into the truck along with plastic waste I got bit irritated. The officials from municipality present near the lorry had no idea about waste segregation . Even the shopkeepers around the mandi  were  unaware about processing of the organic waste  and in-fact they were happy that after so many days SMC vehicle had come to the area to  lift the rotten fruit and vegetables.
Waste to Wealth :
From last few years I have been writing rigorously on waste management. Until now I have written around 15 plus columns on Solid Waste Management in Daily Excelsior . We should know that  the waste generated in our orchards , restaurants  , kitchens , gardens etc  is biodegradable (organic) in nature  and the same gets decomposed within days or weeks. The only thing we have to ensure is that  it should not be mixed with the dry waste particularly the non biodegradable waste  like polythene , plastic , chips wrappers ,  sanitary napkins  etc. We need to  keep one thing in mind that waste is wealth provided it is treated properly. The biodegradable / organic waste is much precious , but due to our negligence and lack of knowledge  we are destroying it , by  dumping it either at landfill sites or here and there .  The collection, transportation and disposal of the waste from the fruit / vegetable markets in Jammu , Srinagar and other mandis  of state is a huge problem. Improper waste management in  Jammu , Srinagar and other towns  may lead to public health problems in the near future . The current mode of treatment used for the fruit and vegetable waste from the  mandis  is to collect the waste in municipal vehicles  and to transport it to the garbage dumping  sites . Heaps of such waste are spread all over the market places  & remains uncollected for days together. It starts rotting at the same place and emits very bad smell. During collection and transportation process the biodegradable / organic waste gets mixed with Non-biodegradable waste, creating problems during its treatment. At the garbage dumping sites odour nuisance is caused from gaseous decomposition. This also leads to methane gas migration which has very bad effects on health and environment.
Conclusion :
To convert waste into wealth the managements of Narwal and Parimpora fruit / vegetable mandis in Jammu and Srinagar should immediately construct compost pits , purchase mechanical composters and other equipments so that all the biodegradable waste (rotten vegetables / fruits) are treated scientifically inside these mandis . They will not only get rid of waste, and pungent smell  but will earn lot of revenue as well from the sale of organic fertilizer (compost) that will be manufactured locally inside these mandis . The work  load on Municipal Corporations of Jammu / Srinagar will also get reduced . Pertinent to mention that Municipal Solid Waste Rules of 2016 also gives a special thrust on source segregation of waste. Government of J&K has already directed the civic bodies to ensure source segregation of waste wef April 7th 2017.  I hope Horticulture Minister will give a serious thought to my humble submission as he has control over Parimpora / Narwal fruit and vegetable mandis.
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