- Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stressed on the concept of ‘waste to wealth’
- 80 buses in Nagpur are running on bio-CNG generated from sewage: Mr Gadkari
- I am equally committed to the ecology, environment and wildlife: Mr Gadkari
New Delhi: NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign stepped into the season 7 with the focus on three pillars – health, hygiene and sanitation and environment. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises lent his support to the campaign and joined the 12-hour #SwasthyaMantra telethon where he talked at length about protecting the environment by adding value to waste. Speaking at the #SwasthyaMantra telethon on October 2, Mr Gadkari shared examples of how his ministry has adopted the idea of ‘waste to wealth’.
Mr Gadkari informed that 80 buses in Nagpur are running on bio-CNG generated from sewage. Sharing the process, Mr Gadkari said,
I have been working on waste to wealth for around 20 years now. For the last 12 years, I have been talking about ethanol; from the existing 20 crore economy, it will be converted into 1 lakh crore economy in the next three years. For bio-CNG, we follow the bio-methanisation process as part of which, the gases – methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide – are separated. Methane is then cleaned, purified, compressed and converted into bio-CNG fuel.
Mr Gadkari emphasised adding value to the waste in order to attract people towards waste management and in turn solve the problem of poor waste management and protect the environment. Sharing an example of the same, Mr Gadkari talked about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plan to provide a decomposer or a capsule produced by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa that will convert stubble into manure which can be used in the fields. Mr Gadkari said,
Delhi Chief Minister has decided to distribute culture free of cost which increases organic carbon. This way, farmers will be benefitted, productivity will be increased, organic farming will be promoted, it will be good for health, and the problem of stubble burning will also be resolved. Farmers will themselves adopt this.
Mr Gadkari also shared a personal experience of converting garden waste into organic manure which he uses in his kitchen garden. He urged people to use science and technology to add value to waste and conserve the environment. He added,
A day will come when bio-diesel, ethanol, methanol, bio-CNG will be more popular and the use of petrol and diesel will diminish. Our environment will thrive.
Answering to NDTV’s Dr Prannoy Roy’s question on whether he can commit to not build roads going through forest lands where there is wildlife, Mr Gadkari said,
I am equally committed for the ecology, environment and wildlife.
Mr Gadkari said that his ministry has spent Rs. 1300 crores for saving the tigers and are now committed to the transplantation of trees. Transplantation is the technique of moving a plant from one location to another. Mr Gadkari informed that the technique will be implemented during the construction of the Dwarka Express highway in Delhi. He said,
We should have a very balanced approach to development. I am spending crores of money on the transplantation of trees. Now I am planning to develop at least 1000 contractors for the transplantation but some of the eccentric people say we don’t want roads. Every year, the number of cars and trucks is increasing by 10 per cent. We are facing 5 lakh accidents, 1.5 lakh deaths, we need new green highways. We have to protect the wildlife, we have to increase the greenery and at the same time, we need good roads. We have to find out an integrated solution and approach.
India is utilising various kinds of waste, for instance, slag, an industrial byproduct obtained from the steel manufacturing industry, is used in road construction. According to Mr Gadkari, this way we are not only protecting the environment but also getting good raw materials. He called for support from people of all walks of life and said,
IITs, engineering colleges and NGOs should come up with value to waste ideas. I am also experimenting. If the number of people doing experiments increase, the problem will be resolved.
To resolve the problem of water logging in Mumbai during heavy rainfall also, Mr Gadkari suggested utilising waste water. The minister has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to recycle the polluted water, and use it in farming instead of diverting it into a river. He said,
The municipal corporation should create value from solid waste and liquid waste management. It costs crores but if we create CNG, organic manure from it then the capital cost will come from the process, the environment will be benefitted and it will also create jobs. An experiment has been done in Nagpur where water from the toilet was sold for Rs. 325 crores.
Before signing off, Mr Gadkari reiterated the message of adding value to the waste and in turn, attracting citizens to the process of waste management.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.