Sunday, July 5, 2009

Garbage to Gardens Part II

Garbage to Gardens - Part 2
A creative approach to recycling

Wet garbage or what is commonly known, as kitchen waste is a very valuable yet often underused resource. With the growth of a nuclear family and apartment culture in today’s urban society, proper garbage disposal is proving to be a growing problem. This growing filth is causing allied health problems in cities. Scientists have been working in order to develop various methods and corresponding products to come up with efficient ways of garbage disposal.

In this article I would like to share with you 3 methods I have successfully been using to dispose and convert wet garbage to manure in my garden, namely – Vermiculture, Bio – culture and EM process (a Japanese technology). Vermiculture can be used for all ground plants and does not need much watering as it holds the moistures in the soil. Bio-culture and the EM process are excellent for flat owners as they use up all the kitchen waste with less soil. By using these methods every one of us will be able to make good use of our wet household garbage and can contribute to keep our surroundings clean and ultimately save the environment.

I will briefly explain these methods and also the products available in the market required for these processes.

1.Vermiculture composting process
Items required (available in the market)
Vermiculture, Cow dung, heavy bricks, wet garbage (kitchen waste, cooked waste and garden waste), a small covered area.

This method is the easiest and simplest to follow and gives excellent nitrogen rich manure. It is a zero pollution and environment friendly process with minimum cost.

Find a small covered area in your garden. By using bricks make a raised enclosure on the ground of the size 4ft by 2ft by 1ft (ht). This should be enough for a small family of four members or it may vary on the quantity of garbage generated. Spread a thin layer of cow dung about 2 inches at the bottom. Over this layer spread some coconut fibre or dry leaves along with Vermiculture (about 250 grams). It is now ready for use. Start throwing the wet garbage loosely except cooked waste, which can by thrown after 15 days. When the enclosure is half full spread another thin layer of cow dung and when is becomes full add a last layer of cow dung and leave it for 2 months .You may cover this enclosure with a net to protect it from cats, dogs, flies etc.

Repeat this process in a similar enclosure. The compost in the first enclosure will be ready in a couple of months. It can be used for all plants like fruit trees etc very effectively. This is very rich manure with all the necessary nutrients required for the growth of plants.

When the compost is ready, take it out from the enclosure leaving about four (4) inches level of contents at the bottom. The earthworms produced from the culture will remain sheltered at the bottom. These worms thrive on the garbage and convert it into compost. You can continue reusing the area without adding any fresh Vermiculture.

2. Bioculture Method

Items required
Bio-culture (available in the market), enough wet garbage, thick plastic sheet, and thick heavy bricks.

This again is pollution free and environment friendly and we can all be friends of nature and can make good use of the garbage which otherwise would have created filth and stink.

Method for terrace garden

This can be very effectively used on the terrace as this method uses more garbage and minimum soil. The important thing to remember is that there should be proper sloping, drainage along with waterproofing done on the terrace.

Spread a thick plastic sheet (3ft by 3ft) and place two layers of bricks on all 4 sides and make a bed. Spread at the bottom a two-inch layer of coconut fibre dry grass or sugarcane waste. Now spread half kg of bio-culture and cover it with a four-inch layer of garbage. Repeat till the bed is full. Make a well in the centre and put a little soil to hold the plant and now it is ready for planting. Cooked waste can be added only after15 days of planting the sapling. Even fruit trees like guava, orange etc can be planted on the terrace like this.
For 9 sq feet area you will require 5 kg of bio-culture and this is a one-time investment. As the garbage goes down you can keep on adding more and more garbage. You may treat this bed with cow dung once in 2 months. If you find any small insects or ants just sprinkle water boiled with neem leaves on the bed.

3. EM Process
This is one of the products, which I have been using very effectively.
EM (Effective micro organisms) is an extremely beneficial, Eco-friendly and totally harmless product. EM – solution is also a very economical and easy to use product.
EM solution can be classified into 3 categories.
1. Original EM (EM-1), 2. Extended EM (EM-2), 3 Rice Wash EM (EM-3)
1 Original EM (EM-1)
EM-1 is made in the factory. It has dormant microorganisms and is used to make extended EM and Rice wash EM solutions. Instruction booklets are also available along with this.
2 Extended EM (EM-2)
Fill one liter-size plastic bottle with plain water leaving about 2'' on top. Leave it open overnight before use, as corporation water contains chlorine. Add 10ml original EM solution and 2 tbsp of sugar (15gms) to this water. Mix well and keep it airtight away from sunlight in a cool dark place for seven days. Once in two or three days open the lid to let out some gas. This will be ready for use on the 8th day. In cold weather it may take a little longer (about 10 days or more). Shelf life is one month after it is ready.

3Rice Wash EM (EM-3)
This EM further enhances properties of EM-2 and makes its use even cheaper. Take 1ltr size plastic bottles number them 1 to 7.When you wash rice for cooking collect first two washes (approximately 1ltr from 250gms of rice). Fill one bottle with this water leaving little space on top (about 2''). This rice water should be used within 4hrs. Add 20ml of EM-2 (Extended EM) and 2tbsps of sugar. Close cap tightly and keep aside for 7 days in a cool place away from sunlight. Repeat the process every day till all the 7 bottles are ready. On the 8th day bottle no1 is ready for use on your kitchen waste. The shelf life of the EM enhanced rice water is one week.
Take 2 or 3 plastic buckets and number them 1 to 3. Empty your kitchen waste (egg shells, bones, stale food, vegetable waste etc) in the first bucket. Pour EM-3 over it till the whole waste is immersed in this solution. Repeat this process every day until the bucket is full, leaving a little space on top to let out the gas. Keep covered for ten days. Repeat the process with the other buckets. After ten days take out the first bucket, sieve the liquid into another empty container. This liquid diluted 300 times with water is excellent liquid manure. Water your pots and plants with this water once in a week or once in ten days. Shelf life of this liquid is about 10 to 15 days. The leftover garbage contents is mixed with 3 times the quantity of soil and stored in gunny bags or empty cement bags for 10 to 15 days after which the fertile soil is ready for use. Use this soil directly in pots or on the ground. This process is very good for flat owners as they can conduct the whole process inside their flat. Extra fertile soil can be used in the society premises. The results are excellent.

Please make use of any one or all three processes in your garden to help promote a social cause.

Sudha Pai

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An article on Magarpatta City

Magarpatta City, situated in Hadapsar, on the east side of Pune in Maharashtra, is a manmade paradise on earth, which is unique in all respects. It is a beautifully planned city with all the basic amenities required for the residents to live a happy, healthy and comfortable lifestyle. Balancing the role of nature in our day-to-day lives, is also given equal importance. This inspires the modern youth to understand, appreciate, and enjoy the beauty of nature in the midst of IT towers, residential buildings, club houses, schools, gymnasiums, shopping centres etc which are also part of this paradise. Beautiful flowering trees are planted on both sides of the wide roads which are vibrant with their colorful blooms in different seasons. Many species of birds announce their existence by loudly chattering and chirping various notes creating a beautiful and friendly bond between nature and mankind.
The city bears testimony to the positive vision and foresight of the management team at Magarpatta Township Development And Construction Company Co.Ltd., and the selfless untiring efforts of its Managing Director Mr Satish Magar and equally efficient and charming wife, Mrs Rekha Magar. Along with the strong and constructive support of his younger brother, Mr Umesh Magar, the Technical Director, they take an active interest in the day to day maintenance of this city. Satish is a man of few words. His actions speak louder than words. His priority has been for addressing basic human needs coupled with tapping the natural resources to make life comfortable for the residents while also addressing the issues related to the environment, which is the need of the hour.
Solar water heating systems are provided to every family to cater to the daily hot water needs of family members. This is a great luxury that everybody enjoys here.
Also, there exists a fully operational solid waste management project within the city including garbage segregation initiatives, a bio-gas plant, vermicomposting pits, rainwater harvesting etc. This has given a clean look and ambience to the city. This is one of the most progressive achievements for the management as it involves the co-operation from the residents and shop keepers alike.
Eco-friendly fly-ash bricks and concrete are used in construction which has advantages over using clay bricks in terms of cost, weight and strength.
Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company has brought about a new eco-friendly awareness in society and has set a role model for others to follow. With all these facilities, anybody should be happy and proud to live in a place like this. We wish for more such heavenly abodes on earth.

Some thoughts on Women’s Day

8th of March is accepted as women’s day all over the world. This day may be
interpreted by every woman as a time to take stock of her achievements of the past
and her resolutions for the future.
As a senior citizen with all the experience of the past, I would like to mention
here a few points. First of all , I feel that we should not lose our identity as women in our society. Writers and poets have described a woman as a picture of grace, beauty , compassion, modesty and lastly as a symbol of strength and endurance.
There is no need for women to compete with men. We are biologically made different and have certain responsibilities endowed upon us by nature. We need to respect our opposite sex, men as companions in order to raise happy families thereby creating a happier and healthier society. This seems to be the need of the hour. If we try to go against nature the consequences are likely to be disastrous. Feminists and other modern activists may not agree with this thought today. The realization is bound to come later on in life. Life cannot be played back like a CD backward and forward.After completing these responsibilities they can always take up the other challenges. It has been proved beyond doubt that women can reach any heights they wish to.
Motherhood, is a most beautiful experience for all women. Once, when I visited a maternity home I saw a poster on the wall with a picture of a mother and a baby below which was inscribed these following lines, “Mother at whose breasts humanity is nourished and in whose lap civilizations are cradled “ What a great and noble job! Society and the whole of humanity are looking up and looking forward to you for this great job. Educated housewives need not feel guilty or not useful, as they are the ones contributing the maximum by making use of their education in the right way. Enjoy your family, your children, their little pranks and innocence. Do not miss the first eye to eye contact with your baby’s first smile, followed by all the milestones like the first step taken, first word spoken etc.. These precious and happy moments once gone will never come back to you.
Lastly, I feel that all our relationships should be based on sincerity and honesty, as it is a very simple formula to follow whether it it is friendship, marriage or career. A girl child grows up to be an educated member of the family, later on becomes a wife, mother, and grand mother and it continues. Finally she too becomes a senior citizen like us. A family without a woman is incomplete and a society without women does not exist