Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Leaf litter – A boon or a bane?

city kemp

city kempDespite the fact that our Garden city has lost a lot of greenery in the recent past, we have fortunately enough trees to still provide green cover and act as a filter to the high levels of pollution in the city. During the months of February, March and April many of the trees shed their leaves. The fallen leaves are swept daily from the streets by the Pourakarmikas and collected as a pile in different street corners. Given our cities limited waste management infrastructure, it is barely able to handle the regular waste from households.
There is therefore no capacity to handle this increased load of leaf litter during these months. These leaf piles which are supposed to be collected in a timely manner, unfortunately very quickly degenerate to becoming garbage piles as regular household waste and sundry waste (plastic packets, cigarette packets etc…) from pedestrians is thrown on them. What makes this unseemly sight even worse is when someone lights a fire on this garbage pile.
Unfortunately, many people believe that burning garbage is a good way of clearing garbage! The toxic pollutants emitted from this burning pile is obviously of no concern. Even when the system works as expected, this pile of leaf litter if picked up by auto’s and then transferred to a larger garbage pickup truck. Now this leaf litter is then mixed with the regular garbage. This combined waste is transported some 70-80 kilometers outside the city to our landfills. Since there is no processing done in these landfills, our leaf litter which is now mixed with the entire gamut of our waste (kitchen waste, plastic, electronic waste, paper ) becomes a deadly toxic cocktail.
Is there no alternative to this scary reality? Sure. Our leaf litter is very useful in enriching our soil if it is composted. Composting the leaf litter locally wherever possible will reduce huge transportation costs, as well as the chance of burning leaf and increasing air pollution. Within Koramangala, the residents of 3rd block are composting all the leaf litter in their neighbourhood. This composting facility is located on 12th main Koramangala, behind the 3rd block post office.
To ensure good quality of compost, a rotary sieve is used to remove all garbage (plastic, twigs, stones etc..). This pure leaf mulch is then mixed with a cow-dung slurry to improve quality of the compost. The unit has so far handled over 300 auto loads of leaf in 2015 (Jan and Feb 2015) itself. The unit has staff working on six days of the week except on Sundays, and is generating close to a tonne of compost during every working day.
Just imagine the pollution caused by burning 300 auto loads of leaf, as is the norm in most parts of the city, and was the norm even in Koramangala till two years ago.
Residents of Koramangala can support this venture by visiting the facility and understanding what is being done. It also helps if you buy the compost which is very reasonably priced at Rs 5/Kg (fine grain) and Rs 3/Kg (coarse grain).
To buy Kora 3B ‘Black Gold’, you can contact Jayachandra Reddy at: 07022358470

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