Agriculture

Government approves proposal to scale production and sale of compost

Will provide financial assistance of Rs 1,500 for every tonne of compost sold

 
By Jigyasa Watwani
Last Updated: Monday 25 January 2016
Credit: Flickr
Credit: Flickr Credit: Flickr

The government has approved a proposal to scale up the production and sale of compost by providing financial assistance of Rs 1,500 per tonne sale of compost.

“The fact that the government has begun to recognize the value of waste and is working towards converting waste to wealth is very encouraging,” said Vani Murthy, backyard composter from Bengaluru and member of We Care for Malleswaram, a group of citizen volunteers working towards increasing awareness about solid waste management.

Under the government’s policy on promotion of city compost, fertiliser companies are required to market city compost along with chemical fertilisers. Later, compost manufacturers and other marketing entities recognized by the state government will also be included in the scheme, with the approval of the Department of Fertilizers.

Public sector undertakings (PSUs) and the government are also required to use compost for horticulture and related purposes.

A significant aspect of the policy is to increase awareness about the benefits of compost and promote its use. “The easy way to get people to compost is to make them aware about how composting benefits the soil. Because of the kind of chemical residues found in fruits and vegetables, we would one day need to grow our own food. And, inevitably, when you start composting, you start growing something at home,” Murthy said.

The government’s policy on promoting compost use maintains that fertiliser companies marketing city compost are required to adopt a village to increase awareness about its benefits. Concerned ministries and departments, agricultural universities and agriculture extension machineries such as Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of the Indian Council of Agriculture and Research (ICAR) are also required to follow suit.

The benefits of promoting compost production and sale are many. Compost would provide carbon and other primary and secondary nutrients to soil. It will clear cities of piles of garbage by decreasing the ratio of volume of waste to landfill/dumpsite.

“When you compost, you not only reduce the burden on a landfill but also improve soil to grow better food,” Murthy said.

Composting will also prevent production of harmful greenhouse gases. Finally, city waste composting would generate employment in urban areas and enhance the livelihoods of waste managers.

This is best illustrated by Hasidula, an organisation of waste workers that has helped improve the livelihood and quality of life of ragpickers/waste workers in Bengaluru. Started in 2013, the organisation engaged ragpickers by providing waste management services through them to bulk generators of waste.

“I was involved in training Hasirudala rag pickers in composting and terrace gardening. It is heart-warming to see how the economic and social condition of these workers has improved tremendously since then. They have moved from the informal sector to the formal sector and are now managers at dry waste collection centres in Bengaluru,” Murthy said.

 

Note: Spelling of "Hasidula" has been corrected to "Hasirudala". The error is regretted

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