Making compost from municipal solid waste is seen as one way of returning organic waste to land so as to produce fresher, healthier and cheaper fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Almitra Patel, National Technical Expert on Swachh Bharat Mission, has been specifically asked to help move compost to the field and to see to it that all compost plants work, revive closed ones, make those sub-optimally working to work to full capacity, to make those in pipeline to be rapidly completed and made operational so that all compost goes to farms.
“It benefits urban citizens to keep wet waste separate to make healthy compost and come back as safe healthy food. When you use compost you use less chemical pesticide – only 50 per cent of it – and all the toxins become that much less," she told The Hindu during her recent visit to the city.
If it is not done, the whole purpose of composting is wasted, she says.
Dr. Patel quotes examples of farmers using the compost and benefits derived. About a decade ago, a paddy farmer in Bellary had been asked to use exactly half the chemical fertiliser and for the remaining, Mysore city compost.
The paddy grew greener, closer and bushier with bunches. Such was the benefit that the farmer who used it on one acre, went for it in the 60 acres, she recalled.
In the rain-deficient Latur in Maharashtra, where the rain was untimely farmers had to go for second and third sowing. Whichever farmer had used city compost did not have to go for second or third sowing. “The beauty of city compost is that it retains moisture, the humus, like a sponge. A plant can sustain for 12 days without rain,” Dr. Patel says.