- The waste processing plant can process 16 tonnes of garbage daily
- It cost an amount of Rs. 1.45 crores to setup the plant
- The plant also has a sanitary napkin disposal machine
For the residents of Koregaon Park, Pune, garbage is no longer the crisis it used to be. For years, the residents had become habituated to piles of garbage strewn all around the locality. But instead of sitting on the crisis, the residents, along with the civic administration and local politicians decided to adopt an effective waste management model which has eventually ended up recycling nearly 16 tonnes of waste every day. This fascinating model and its functioning were made possible by former corporators Vanita and Rajendra Wagaskar, who ensured that all garbage collected from Koregaon is properly recycled and not even the waste goes to waste.
Koregaon is part of Ward No. 21 of Pune Municipal Corporation. For this mammoth task of daily waste management, a comprehensive step-by-step process has been put in place by the former corporators. Realising the problem of waste being often carried over to recycling plants is not segregated, Rajendra Wagaskar began actively campaigning for the segregation of waste at its source. Dry waste, wet waste and plastic waste is segregated during collection and stored in separate containers.
Setting Up The Plant
In 2015, the ward received prize money of Rs. 2 crores from the Pune Municipal Corporation for maintaining cleanliness in the ward. When it came to utilisation of the prize money, the corporators decided that recycling of waste was more useful than simply collecting and dumping it. This led to the building of Avani Innovation Centre, which hosts four waste management and recycling plants, treating different types of waste.
Recycling of waste is very important as it ensures that a number of items can be reused. On receiving the prize money, we began the construction of a multi-functional waste management plant which could tackle a considerable amount of waste at once, said Vanita Wagaskar, ex-corporator, Ward 21.
Costing a little over Rs. 1.45 crores, the project was named as Avani Innovation Centre. The centre, which hosts four plants is a complete and comprehensive waste management solution where waste processing and recycling are done under the same roof. The centre is set on an area of 15,000 sq. ft. and has the capacity to process 16 tonnes of waste every day. The centre can produce three tonnes of compost and fertiliser every day, along with five tonnes of briquettes and 500 kg of Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) products per day.
The Waste Processing Plants
The four plants which are a part of the centre play distinctive roles in tackling separate types of waste and its recycling. The bio-mechanical fertiliser unit is exclusively designed to store dry waste and turn it into usable compost for agricultural purposes. For wet waste, the centre hosts a microorganism based in-vessel composting mechanism. This plant contains microorganisms such as fungi and yeasts, which assist in the composting of wet waste. Garden waste collected by garbage collectors from Ward 21 is brought to the garden waste shredding plant. The waste is utilised in the manufacturing of briquettes. The fourth plant is engaged in the recycling of PET products. It crushes the bottles, removes contaminants and dries the recycled product for further use.
Apart from these plants, the centre also has a sanitary napkin disposal machine, which is only the second one in all of Pune. Discarded sanitary napkins are incarcerated safely. To encourage healthy disposal of used sanitary napkins, the corporators installed specially marked dustbins across public toilets in the ward.
Sanitary napkins are often disposed along with dry waste, which is a very unhygienic practice. We installed specially marked dustbins in public toilets in our wards. Used sanitary napkins from these dustbins are disposed in the sanitary napkin disposal machine and incarcerated safely. This encourages the practice of safely disposing used sanitary napkins, said Mrs. Vanita Wagaskar.
Continuing The Work
Though Rajendra and Vanita are no longer corporators of Ward 21, the passion to tackle the waste problem has remained. Both regularly monitor the functioning of the waste management centre to ensure that the centre functions smoothly, without any hiccups. The next step the couple has undertaken is to work on recycling plastic waste into furnace oil.
Without monitoring, waste management models often fail. That is the reason why we still monitor the functioning of the centre. We are glad that this centre has ensured a garbage free Koregaon Park and can become a model for all other wards under the Pune Municipal Corporation, said Mrs. Wagaskar.