SHERAS FERNANDES | NT BUZZ
The earth is consistently bearing the burden of waste material because a large volume of people and companies produce and dispose waste materials in the open. There’s enough said about the increasing garbage and the risk it poses to mankind but what are we really doing to tackle it? There are indeed many people who are taking action to protect the environment in their neighbourhood and communities, but often their stories go untold.
The efforts of a person trying to bring about social revolution are not always encouraged, but nothing could stop Baylon Gomes from Arossim to fight against the unceasing garbage menace. Backed by the willpower to change the situation of garbage hazards, Baylon set up BAViSH, an enterprise which collects household waste from over 155 panchayats across Goa. The enterprise also innovatively recycles slaughter meat waste into bio fuel and animal feed from Patto, Panaji. “When I realised that one of the reasons for cancer is pollution and moreover burning plastic, I created awareness by telling my neighbours in Arossim, to stop burning plastic. Some waste is collected by scrap dealers while rest of the uncollected waste is taken by me,” says Baylon who started BAViSH in 2011 after six years of awareness drives and garbage collection.
BAViSH which means future in Hindi is a contribution towards society and nature. Baylon points that one main contributing factor to increasing garbage is the non-segregation of waste. “Non-segregation of wet and dry waste is one factor for increasing garbage. Even though 70 per cent of the dry waste can be recycled by companies, people mix wet and dry garbage which nobody wants to touch because the decaying components such as food,” says Baylon.
Besides effectively dealing with non-biodegradable waste produced at home, slaughter waste has been Baylon’s concern for a long time and he has been trying to find a solution to it. “When Goa Meat Complex was expanding their premises I approached the then chairman who immediately encouraged and worked towards setting up a dry rendering plant. After Panaji I am targeting Mapusa and other municipals councils. If this happens, Goa will be proud to say that all their animal waste has been handled. However, we need to invest more into chicken and fish which is into the pipeline,” he says. Baylon further says: “Although this is my initiative I have collaborated with the Government of Goa as it cannot happen without the government’s support. Also, most of the animal waste is generated by municipal markets.”
Increasing and uncontrolled slaughter waste does more harm by polluting the environment and posing serious health hazards to living beings. He says: “Slaughter waste attracts maggots and contaminates everything around including water and air. On an average Panaji market on a daily basis generates one and a half ton of fish waste, one ton of other animal waste and two tons of chicken waste. That’s about five tons of waste produced by Panaji market alone, excluding other markets in Goa.”
On a daily basis Baylon deals with seven tons of dry waste and five tons of animal waste. “The meat and bone meal (MBM), by-products of slaughter waste, are used to make chicken, fish and dog feed. Some fat is extracted to make soap and bio fuel while the chicken waste is used to make animal feed.
The fish extracts is used to make fish oil,” he says. An interesting fact about the enterprise is that among the people employed, Baylon claims 99 per cent are Goans: “The Goans employed in the sector are from places like Sanquelim, Cansaulim and Curchorem and amount to 99 per cent of the staff.”
Baylon further highlighting the segregation and disposal of waste says that one should dispose wet waste in paper bags and not in plastic bags. “Plastic bags do not decay. Cows eat the plastic with the wet waste in it and in turn the milk gets contaminated. Everyday four to five cows are operated by the animal husbandry and nearly five kilos of plastic is taken out,” he says. He also feels that banning plastic is not practically possible. “Plastic can be recycled. Its usage can be reduced when you are sensible and carry your own bag. I don’t feel it is practical to ban plastic. Let’s work towards more practical and realistic approach,” says Baylon. He in the long run aims to collect vegetable waste and convert it to fuel to generate biogas. “This can be used as a replacement for LPG; the biogas is a natural gas and is ideal as lots of vegetable waste is generated in Goa,” says Baylon.
(The Green Heroes Film Festival featuring short films that explore the lives of ‘Green Heroes’ will be held on April 25 at Regency Ball Room, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Mumbai)