PCB’s vermiculture project running at 5 pc capacity

Neha Basudkar
Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Out of 177 recently constructed pits, only 15 are in a working condition

Pune: In a classic example of how lack of segregation of solid waste continues to pose a major hurdle, it has been revealed that due to this, the vermiculture project started by Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) at Ramtekdi in order to process more than 100 tonnes of wet garbage daily is running at five per cent of its total capacity. This fact was revealed during a spot visit conducted by Sakal Times reporter. It was revealed that out of 177 recently constructed pits, only 15 are in working condition. According to officials, only four to five tonnes of vermicompost are prepared every three months. Surprisingly, the remaining pits are being used for dumping dry garbage and even for storing plastic.

Also, wet waste only from open market areas including Ghorpadi market, Chhatrapati Shivaji market, Bhimpura, Wanawdi and Fatima Nagar is collected, while the household wet waste is being dumped into the dumping yard, which is located exactly opposite the project area. Rahul Darde, Health Inspector of PCB, said, “The waste collected from households of Cantonment by SWaCH, an NGO, does not come over here, as it is not segregated properly. As a result of this, it is directly dumped into the dumping yard. The rag pickers appointed by the Board collect garbage from the market and open areas of the Cantonment. They themselves segregate it and it is then brought to the vermiculture site. It is then shredded in the recently purchased machine.”

He further added, “The shredded wet waste is then dumped into the pits. The size of one pit is 50x18 feet and the depth of each pit is 3 feet.”   

“There are three such pits attached to one another, which accounts for the total size of 150x36 altogether. There are 177 such pits on 10 acres of land. After the shredded waste is dumped into the pits, we keep sprinkling water to maintain it below 30 degrees C, and normal fertiliser and EM solutions are added to the mixture. The vermicompost gets ready in three months after the process,” said Darde. He said they daily receive 10 tonnes of wet garbage from which four to five tonnes of vermicompost is generated. This compost is mainly used in gardens of the PCB while remaining two tonnes are sold for Rs 2 per kg.

About the project
† The project was started in 2003 and initially, spending was Rs 8 lakh, in which 72 pits were created. In the next phase, another 105 pits were made by spending Rs 12 lakh.
† The Board has also recently installed rooftops to only two rows of the pits. Darde said, “Due to insufficient funds, the Cantonment could only install two rooftops on the two rows of the pits.”
† While asking about the garbage dumped into the remaining pits, Darde said, “As there is less space in the garbage yard, some of the dry and plastic waste is dumped into the pits, which are not used for vermiculture.”
† According to Darde, the household waste does not come to the vermiculture site. While Aparna Sursarla, Director of SWaCH, said, “Wet waste is collected from ward number 1, 2, 5 and 8 of the Cantonment from 2,100 and 3,50 households and commercials respectively. From these wards daily, approximately 3.5 tonnes of garbage is collected only from households and from these, 75 per cent accounts to wet waste. This waste is directly sent to the vermiculture project.”

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