CHENNAI: While big-city corporations are still struggling to segregate domestic wastes at source, a town panchayat in the outskirts of Chennai has not only managed to segregate wastes, but make useful products out of it.
Naravarikuppam town panchayat at Red Hills process dry lemon, masumbi, and orange peel wastes into toilet cleaning liquids and provide it to public toilets in the panchayat.
Speaking to Express, G Deepa, in charge of the Town Panchayat’s composting yard, said, about five kgs of fruit waste is collected every day from temples, fruit shops and markets in the panchayat.
‘‘The fruit peels are left for drying for at least 10 days and then they are mixed with two kilos of jaggery,’’ explains Deepa. ‘‘About five kgs of fruit waste and jaggery is then mixed with 20 litres of water. The waste is kept closed in a drum for 15 days.’’
‘‘The citrus becomes stronger each day and when the liquid turns into dark yellow, we transfer it into one litre bottles,’’ says Deepa.
Every day, at least 5 kilos of fruit waste is collected and processed. The composting yard has five such drums. These liquids are circulated to toilets in all government offices within the panchayat too.
Alongside this, the panchayat is also experimenting in making organic cloth washing liquid made of soap berries from soap nut tree grown in the yard. ‘‘We mix soap nuts with vinegar and it is kept in a closed container for between 60-90 days. Currently, we have made two litres of that,’’ adds Deepa.
Apart from cutting cost, toilet cleaners and dishwashing liquids are given to sanitary workers for free as well. ‘‘There are eight sanitary workers in the yard and all of them are into processing fruit feels in their free time,’’ says Deepa, adding that it takes about one hour to spread all the fruit feels and keep for drying.
For the past three months, the panchayat has also been processing citrus fruit feels into dishwashing powder. ‘‘About 5 kilos of fruit waste into processed into dish-washing powder and it is provided to all the temples in the panchayat,’’ says Deepa.
While this is possible only because of source-segregation happening in the town panchayat, officials believe making organic detergent can be emulated by the Chennai city corporation too. G Sathish, Executive Officer, Naravarikuppam Town Panchayat said, the goal was to make the panchayat zero waste in a short time.
‘‘Apart from bio-composting and vermicomposting, making organic floor and toilet cleaners has brought bio-waste going out of the composting yard to nil,’’ said Sathish. ‘‘We will spread awareness about the way of doing it to residents as well,’’ the official added.