New Delhi: Waste of any kind either lies rotting on the roadside or piles up on the landfill alongwith other forms of waste. There is no distinction made between vegetable waste or plastic waste. But that is not how it should be, especially in light of the garbage crisis facing India. Shri Shankarlal Sundarbai Shasun Jain College for Women in T. Nagar, Chennai, is turning waste to wealth– not just for its own benefit, but also for the market area around the college.
Speaking to NDTV about the idea, Dr. B. Poorna, Principal of the college, said,
Every year, ENACTUS – a student team of the college, along with faculty would initiate a new project to be taken in the college. This year, keeping in mind the central government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the team initiated to have a biogas plant in the campus for Solid Waste Management.
Shri Shankarlal Sundarbai Shasun Jain College for Women is near to Ranganathan Market Street in T. Nagar, the heart of the Chennai city. The market street which is prone to garbage dumping is also a health hazard. Keeping this in mind, the students decided to take benefit of the waste being generated in the market and use it to generate biogas. As a first lap for this clean India project, the team started to clear the waste from the market and installed a separate bin for food waste in their college canteen.
Converting Vegetable Waste To Biogas
Explaining the process of converting waste to biogas, Dr. Poorna says,
In the campus, we have installed a plant having capacity of treating 50kg of bio-degradable waste. The plant is fed by the bio-degradable waste collected from the market along with the food waste collected from college canteen. We mix the waste with equal amount of water. Say, we are feeding the plant with 10kg of waste, then we will put 10 litres of water.
The plant produces 2kg of biogas for every 50kg of bio-degradable waste dumped in it. Along with this, the plant generates a gives byproduct- slurry which can be used as organic manure. In the entire process, acidic and fibre-rich waste like banana leaves, peels of citrus fruits, is avoided.
The plant creates an employment opportunity for two individuals. One, for collection of waste from market and another for collecting slurry from biogas plant and selling it to local nursery which will be initiated soon, tells Dr. Poorna.
With this green initiative, the college has been able to replace six out of 90 LPG cylinders used every month in the college kitchen.
The biogas plant is not only a source of energy, but also helps in ensuring cleanliness in the market area, prevent diseases caused due to dumping of waste in open, and is safe for environment as it produces zero emission, says Dr. Poorna.
Managing The Byproduct- Slurry And The Way Forward
Every day, five to six litres of slurry is generated. Currently, the college is using slurry for the purpose of gardening inside the college campus. But, few months down the line, the team wishes to sell the slurry to nurseries at a minimal cost like Rs. 10 for one litre bottle of slurry.
Apart from this, the college team plans to collect waste from entire Ranganathan Street, T. Nagar and start vermi-composting at a dump yard, near college.
Not Just Biogas, But A Lot More: Plastic And Paper Free Campus
In a bid to beat plastic pollution, the college authority has initiated plastic free campus. The college has stopped using plastic cups, bottles and plates in the campus. For the same, mud pots, copper, glass tumblers and steel plates have been introduced in the college canteen.
Be it staff members or guests, we serve them tea, coffee, soft drink, water in glass or steel tumblers. The use of plastic cup, glass and bottle is discouraged by both staff members and students, tells Dr. Poorna.
To reduce the use of paper inside the campus, the college has adopted Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. ERP allows college to manage their business activities and other processes in a paper free manner.
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