Cubbon Park experimenting with leaf composters

By TheHindu on 16 Apr 2017 | read

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15 Apr 2017

Getting rid of fallen leaves is a tricky issue for authorities, even more so in lung spaces such as Cubbon Park and Lalbagh that produce several tonnes of leaf litter. To solve this problem, Cubbon Park has eight new leaf composting machines.

The leaf composters promise quality compost in just four months as against the one-and-a-half years taken by traditional methods that park authorities have been following until now. The Horticulture Department has installed eight leaf composters in Cubbon Park, each with a 2,000-litre capacity.

“Each can easily take up to three truckloads of leaf litter. The composting process in speeded up by the microbial cocopeat and neem powder,” said Vasuki Iyengar of Soil and Health, the private firm that has developed the leaf composters. What has made the leaf composters more attractive is the short delivery time of compost.

Like Lalbagh, Cubbon Park too had large pits into which staff used to dump all the leaf litter collected from October to March every year. The over 7,000 trees in the 194-acre Cubbon Park generate around 70 truckloads of leaf litter a month. The pits would be capped with soil after the season. It takes nearly 18 months for the leaf litter to convert into compost.

Mahantesh Murgod, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Cubbon Park, said the problem with this method, apart from the long time taken to produce compost, was the high risk of fire. “Leaf litter dumped into the pit has caught fire multiple times,” he said.

Authorities are looking to add another 10 leaf composters in Cubbon Park alone, apart from fixing a few on the premises of the Vidhana Soudha, Raj Bhavan, Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain, and other such large lung spaces in the central business district.

Chandrashekhar, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Lalbagh, said the garden, spread over 240 acres, has over 8,000 trees. The leaf litter produced is also larger in volume.

“We are monitoring the experiment with composters in Cubbon Park. If it is successful, we will shift to composters next year,” he added.