Goa, once known for it’s natural beauty is now haunted by three demons ‘Mining, Concretization and Garbage’. Of the three, the Garbage is a menace seen in every nook and corner of the state. Is disposing garbage so difficult? Does garbage management involve rocket science processes? No! At least Bicholim Municipal Council (BMC) does not think so! BMC has set an example to illustrate as to how every problem has a solution. All you need is ‘human-will’ to find solutions to problems, ‘a good council’ to take right decisions and ‘support’ from the citizens. BMC has become a role model for other Municipalities and garbage management plants.
Bicholim also known as Dicholi (Konkani) is a town consisting of ten wards and a population of about 14,913 as per the 2001 census. Bicholim is rich in terms of iron, manganese and basalt; and therefore mining is their main source of economy. For the garbage treatment plant, BMC had purchased 25,000 sq m of land from the Bordem Comunidade at Lakherem. According to BMC senior engineer Hussain Muzawar, 10,000 sq m is used for installing the garbage treatment plant and 5,000 sq m for establishing an administrative block, landscaping and a garden. The rest will be used as a landfill site.
So how does this work?
Door to door collection and segregation
Every household is provided with two waste buckets, a green coloured bucket for ‘wet waste’ and the black coloured bucket for ‘dry waste’. With this, the first phase of segregation is done at home itself, thereby making the citizens a part of this process. This waste is collected door to door by BMC workers early in morning and transported via trucks or mini trucks (ace) to the Garbage management plant which is 1.5 km way from the residential area.
Here, the second phase of segregation is done manually. Wet waste is segregated from the plastic and paper. Dry waste too is segregated from paper, plastic (all forms), glass and metal. Hazardous waste like battery is collected separately.
Segregated wet waste is collected and stacked (as seen in the picture) and it is sprinkled with bio culture powder. This is done to decompose the wet waste.
What is this Bio-culture?
Bio-culture is a Multiple Spore Blend of Bacteria that controls odour, removes organic waste compounds and provides quick cleaning action. Bio-Culture’s innovative Multiple Spore Blend can be used to design environmentally safe solutions for many types of organic wastes.
Ingredients: It is a specially formulated mixture of complex Bio-culture with beneficial soil bacteria such as acetobactor, azotobactor, PSB, KSB etc. having Total Plate Count of 1x109 cells / ml.
Mode of action: The selected blend of bio-strains in Bio-culture specifically promotes optimum enzymatic activity of Protease, Lipase, Amylase and Cellulase, and provides outstanding breakdown of protein, Starch, carbohydrates, fats, Oils and Grease.
• Useful for organic farming for higher crop yield.
• Increases soil fertility.
• Reduces dangerous ammonia and nitrite.
• Digestion of uneaten/undigested food, excreta, detritus, and other latent organic material, resulting in cleaner and healthier pond substrate.
The stack of wet waste is also labeled to keep a track of the days. After 28 days the stacked wet waste turns dry and it is put in the segregation machine which segregates fine metal pieces. Later the processing machine crushes it and turns it into powder which is again segregated based on the thickness of the powder. The fine powder could be easily mistaken for tea powder. This fine powder is excellent manure.
At times the process is repeated to get finer powder and it is then sold to the Gajanan Nursery. On an average BMC gets around 4-5 tons of wastes every day. On Thursday, the waste is more since it is ‘market day’ and produces 3.50 tons of manure.
What about the plastic bottles?
Plastic bottles are segregated from the waste and are crushed and made into flakes which are later sold to industries. Glass bottles too are segregated from the main waste, collected together and then sold in bulk to the industries or bottle dealers. Same is the case with the batteries. In fact, the citizens are advised not dispose the batteries with other wastes. Metal waste is also sold in kilograms.
What about the plastic bags?
Plastic bags below 40 microns are dumped in a land filling site whereas the plastic bags above 40 microns are sold to rag pickers at the rate of 25 paisa per bag.
Garbage management plant set by the BMC is one of the simplest and cost effective plants. Alornekar Shashikant Shankar (Vice Chairperson) informed that the machinery set up by Vikat enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Thane (Maharashtra), cost around `32.5 lakh. Also `10 lakh cost for the maintenance and `60 lakh for the other infrastructure. The bio-culture powder is imported from Mumbai and costs about `180 per kilo.Many would be surprised to know that BMC is actually making profit from the garbage. This could be a good example of the phrase ‘wealth out of waste’.
This is how it goes: Each house hold was provided with free waste buckets but the collection of the waste is charged for. For the household, it is `30 per month, for the shopkeepers it is`50 per month and `100 per month for the hotels. Every worker visits 250 houses and collects the waste.
Simple math: If household collection per month is `30 (it means 1 rupee per day), per year it will be `360. Therefore the amount collected annually of 250 houses is `90,000. And very soon the people of Bicholim will be able to make all this payments and pay other taxes online. Isn’t it affordable, profitable and convenient for the citizens?
About the employees
This plant has provided employment for the residents close to plant. There are as many as 10 employees currently working at the site. Each of the employees follows safety procedures. They wear masks, gloves and gumboots to prevent the infections that they could be subjected to when dealing with different kinds of waste coming from various sources. BMC went one step ahead and has made an insurance cover for each of the employees.
After the current success, the BMC is in the process of expanding their plant operations to another 5 metrics tons. BMC is planning to use the landfill waste to generate power which could be used to run the machinery at the plant. They are currently in talks with an US Company for the same purpose and this project will be funded by the Central Government. The plant will also house a pond for the cattle that have been confiscated and the area around the plant will soon be beatified.
With such striking features, no wonder BMC garbage plant is not only a success story but also a role model to the rest of the state. This plant is now become a case study for National delegations and International delegations. BMC Officials informed that the delegations from USA, Timor visited the plant; the other delegations were from Maharashtra, Delhi, Kolhapur etc.
Taking a hint from BMC’s initiative, it seems that garbage management must take place at a regional level and not at a centralized level. And if possible, have a garbage management plant in every constituency so that the people of each constituency treat and manage their own garbage. But for now, hats off to the BMC and its people for being the torch bearers and now it is up to the rest of the 13 municipalities to follow suit! Together we can!
• Husain shah Muzawar (Municipal Engineer)
• Alornekar Shashikant Shankar (Councilors /Vice Chairperson)
• Sanjay Palaker (Plant supervisor)
Posted on: 26-08-2011