Biodegradable waste turns manure in farmlands in Thoothukudi

80 tonnes of manure has been made from waste collected in seven wards

Biodegradable waste from seven wards in Thoothukudi has not been ending up in a dump yard for the last several months. Instead, it makes its way into farmlands where it is converted into manure.

In a novel initiative by the Corporation, waste segregated at source by workers and women from self-help groups in the wards in the morning, is sent to farmlands by noon. Two farmlands — at Athimarapatti and Krishna Nagar — have been taking the waste, where about 80 tonnes of manure has been produced so far through a simple process.

“We convert waste to manure in the old-fashioned way,” says S. Rajapandian, Sanitary Officer, South Zone, who came up with the idea. “Once the waste is in heaps, the heat inside increases, showing that thermophilic reaction to break down the waste has started. We only try to maintain the moisture level at 60%.”

It takes about 80 days for the waste to convert into manure, which saves costs for farmers.

The manure was tested by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research-Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Vagaikulam, which certified the manure to be of good quality, said Corporation Commissioner Alby John Varghese.

Mr. Varghese said it took some time to convince farmers to use household waste for producing manure, but the initiative started getting a positive response soon.

“We are currently doing it in these wards as they are semi-urban with a good number of agricultural lands,” says Mr. Rajapandian.

He said about 50% of the waste was biodegradable, while around 20% was recyclable or resalable, which included high-density polyethylene, coconut husk, paper items, and the remaining 30%, which comprised inert waste, ended up in landfills.

Biodegradable waste from other wards was sent to four micro-compost centres, where it was converted into manure, and the finished product was given to farmers. Two more centres were coming up at Muthiahpuram and near Fisheries College and Research Institute, said Mr. Rajapandian.

The idea could be introduced on a larger scale as it required less effort, said Mr. Varghese. “This may also be taken up across the State.”

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