Don’t waste your waste!

BY ARTI DAS | NT NETWORK
In this life whatever is created has to degrade and whatever degrades gets created again in a new form. It is the law of nature and is relevant to everything, even to our waste.

Yes, waste that we all generate but are always confused when it come to disposal. The state of Goa still does not having a sustainable waste treatment plant making waste management and disposal all the more difficult. Everywhere we see heaps of garbage dumped along roadsides as there is no proper machinery in place yet to treat this waste.
However, there is a solution to this problem and that too a solution that is within our reach. We just need to be more aware and responsible in our actions when it comes to treat waste.
Most will wonder about how much can really be achieved at an individual level, but the truth of the matter is that every action starts with a single step and thus we need to have that motivation to take that little step.
The first step towards waste management is to segregate it into dry and wet. Around 70 per cent of our household waste is wet (that consists of vegetable/fruit peelings, kitchen and food waste and even paper) and that could be easily treated at home.
Daily Dump, a Bangalore based company has come up with a unique unit termed as ‘khamba’ that can solve all your wet waste woes.
It looks like any artifact made out of terracotta and could be fit anywhere as it requires only 1 sq ft of area. It is a three layer unit that converts wet waste into organic manure.
Mr Karan Manral of Green Essentials, Taleigao who sells these units states that these khambas are becoming quite popular in Goa. “We started selling it through Daily Dump from December 2008. We have sold around 350-400 units in Goa,” he informs.
He adds that it being compact in size and user friendly it is well appreciated. “This model is designed mainly for flats. This is the reason behind its popularity. The end result is the manure for your plants. If you don’t have plant simply dump it in any open space as it is purely organic,” explains Mr Manral, who provides a manual to give details about its function for its customers.
How the khamba works
The first step is to dump organic waste into the top unit. Then cover with equal quantity of dried leaves / shredded paper / sawdust.
Once top unit is full, interchange with empty middle unit and continue.
Stir once in three days. The pile should not be too dry or too wet.
Maintaining the khamba is the most important part. Many are skeptical about the fact that it would generate foul smell. But, if one maintains the right balance of wet waste and dry leaves or paper than it controls the smell. Most of the times the compost heaps generate maggots and may attract insects.
“It could be treated easily by adding two tablespoons of neem cake powder three days after you begin composting and every seven days thereafter. We also provide it at our store,” adds Mr Manral.
One can use even red chili powder and baking soda. The red chili powder is for controlling the maggot population and the baking soda is to control the acidity of the pile. The compost is ready within 60 or 90 days.
These khambas are available in two sizes. “We have chota khamba for a family of 2-3 members and a bada khamba for a family of 4-5. Recently we have introduced a new model called ‘manthan’ which is a tank that rotates. It is basically meant for housing complexes,” confirms Mr Manral.
Speaking about community level waste management, the panchayats are also taking interest in these khambas. “We are getting bulk quantity orders from Panchayats. We sell around 25-50 units per panchayat,” informs Mr Manral.
Mr Clinton Vaz, a waste management expert from Benaulim, elaborated that these khambas are gaining popularity in villages. “These khambas are bought by panchayats and are sold to the villagers at subsidised rates. Thus, they are available for either 1/4th  or 1/3rd the rate. When these khambas are bought, training is provided to the users. Thus, we can sell only around 20 khambas at one time. There is actually a waiting list in some villages for these khambas,” he states adding that in some villages it is the panchayats that have taken the initiative while in other places the NGOs promote it. “The villages who have accepted these khambas are Benaulim, Seraulim, Betalbetim, Majorda, Verna, Chicalim. Whereas place like Saligao, Assagao, Colva, Velsao are planning to buy these khambas. I think around 185 khambas are already sold in villages and around 150 are in the pipeline,” concludes Mr Vaz.