Addressing Pune’s Garden Waste in a Socially & Environmentally Sustainable Manner
Pune generates about 200 – 300 tons of garden waste daily. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has a system of garden waste collection from public spaces and gardens. However there is no reliable system for garden waste collection from individual bungalow, housing complexes, institutions, gated communities and private spaces.
Whatever garden waste is collected has no method for proper disposal. Due to this, large quantities of garden waste finds its way into illegal dumping sites where it attracts more garbage. Garden waste is disposed off on the sides of highways, near Smashan Bhoomis, at riversides and at other water bodies. In the worst case, garden waste is burned, leading to a lot of pollution being released into the air. The PMC normally combines this waste with other wastes at their transfer centers and transports this material to a landfill.
PMC has about 8-9 shredders available at different parts of the city. Most of them are currently not functional due to various reasons. As a result of this, on the one hand PMC’s existing infrastructure and investments are not being utilised and on the other hand the waste generated is causing a huge environmental and logistical problem.
Garden waste is an excellent resource. When shredded and processed, it can be used in making briquets, pellets used as cheap smokeless fuel for heating / cooking. Shredded garden waste can be used for composting to regenerate the soil. It can be used as bulking material for the treatment of kitchen waste. Larger branches can be used to create biochar, an excellent form of stable carbon which can enhance soil fertility while holding carbon back in the soil. Shredded waste and leaf waste could be used as mulching medium for gardens and farms which would reduce weed growth and consequent labour requirements. Mulching also adds nutrients into the soil, prevent moisture losses through evaporation and encourages the growth of beneficial soil micro-organisms for a healthy productive growth of plants and vegetation.
INORA has been in discussions with the PMC to begin the operation of one of the available shredders to process garden waste and generate a sustainable resource out of it. This socially and environmentally relevant model will need initial financial support at least for the first year. Once the model proves its sustainability practically, this model could be extended to all the shredders across the city. It is expected that all shredder location put toegther could process atleast 30 – 50 tons of garden waste per day, making a significant impact towards a more sustainable future for the city at low cost.
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