The stench emanating from the dumping ground of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation near Hari Om Nagar in Mulund was polluting the air of the locality and had become a serious cause of concern for the residents. But today, the same garbage yard has turned into a green patch and serving as the lungs of the locality.
Two years back the dumping ground was shut down to give some relief to the residents. Now, instead of plastics and rotting waste cucumbers, ladies fingers and pumpkins welcome you there. The garbage hills have turned into fertiliser and organic vegetables are been grown on the spot.
All this, thanks to the lockdown! For this was not a planned activity. The bio mining project that was initiated on this land was shut due to the lockdown and in the meantime greenery overtook the garbage hills and vegetables started growing.
Niraj Hadaile, Deepak Ghule and Divesh Pandey, the staff working at the mining site can vouch for the quality of the produce. “Even last year, when we had started the project, we had found some such vegetables growing in patches. Initially, I was not sure if these would be edible. I took some home and it turned out as good as the ones you get in the market. But, we need to wash the vegetables thoroughly,” said a grinning Niraj.
Now, seeing the vegetable growing organically, the mining firm has decided to develop 20 guntas of the area into a farming land. “The quality of the produce growing was good. So, we thought, till the project is on, why we can’t also grow some vegetables on part of the land? The garbage has become a great source of fertiliser and helping the plants to grow faster than usual! We have planted seed of vegetables like fenugreek, tomato, coriander and brinjal,” said Padlekar.
The Mulund Dumping ground, located hardly a few meters away from the Eastern Express Highway, was operational for almost 40 years. Till 2017, garbage from N, S and T ward of Mumbai was dumped at the site. Around 400 trucks would empty around 2500 tonnes of waste on this 27-hectare land daily.
In 2018 the dumping yard was shut and in October 2019 the land was allotted to Bio Mining India Private Limited for segregation and clean-up. It was decided that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will spend almost Rs 731 crore for this 5-year project (to be completed in 2024).
According to Vinayak Padlekar, the project manager, around 70 lakhs metric tonnes waste and garbage was to be segregated and removed. “We are doing the process following the guidelines and rule of MPCB (The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board). We had already started the process in October 2019 and till March, before lockdown started, almost 1.50 lakhs tones waste was segregated,” said Padlekar, adding that the process was completely shut since March and the work has just commenced in the first week of October.
Nothing is wasted
Recycling has been the key word for this project. Soil and stones are being send to mining spots in Bhiwandi and used for landfilling. The plastic waste is being recycled and used for making furniture. Cloth and woods are used as burning material at a Nashik sugar factory and then further developed into coal and used as fuel. The used battery cells and electronic items are sent to a factory in Taloja for recycling.
“We send everything for recycling and make sure not a single piece of garbage is wasted. We are even co-ordinating with authorities and firms to sell the waste soil that has turn into fertilizer in the heat and rain. We intend to provide these to the farmers at a cheaper rate of Rs 1 per kilograms,” said Padlekar