1. Agriculture World

Emgee Greens Society transforms Waste into Fertilizer, Grows 90 kilograms of Organic Vegetables per month

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Organic Manure

The BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) waste collection truck has not visited a society in Mumbai's Wadala neighborhood in over two years. Emgee Greens culture, on the other hand, has been composting the waste.

According to the BMC's Environment Status Report (ESR), between 6,500 and 6,800 metric tonnes of garbage were generated in Mumbai in 2019-2020. Food accounted for almost 73 percent of all pollution. Recognizing this rising problem, society is moving to become a "zero-waste" society.

Vegetables Grown Organically

Every day, the 131 families of Emgee Greens produce approximately 60 kg of wet waste. Residents have been gathering trash from the community in the building's backyard and using the aerobic composting process to transform it into fertilizer. This was initiated in order to keep the trash from the community from being dumped in the city's dump yards.

“For the last two years, the municipality has not received waste from this society. This is why it's known as the "zero trash society," according to Sufiyan Vanu, a city councillor. But it wasn't long before the locals were confronted with a new issue. “In the society, there are 131 families.” Though we were pleased with our efforts to minimize waste, there was no one willing to buy the fertilizer we were producing,” says the society's president, Ashwin Fernandes.

Just 1 tonne of fertilizer has been produced so far from the everyday waste produced. Certain members of the community, on the other hand, will use the fertilizer on a daily basis. Suhail Merchant used to grow flowers on his balcony, while Sunil Deshpande grew vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, and coriander on his balcony.

“We discovered that the other grew plants on balconies as well. On the terrace, we pictured organic farming in this way. We obtained permission from the society's secretary, Ashwin, and began this project about five months ago,” says Suhail, a business consultant. Their decision to go organic was inspired by a desire to prevent overuse of pesticides in crop processing.

Residents of Emgee Greens now harvest 90 kilos of vegetables each month from their terrace, including fenugreek, spinach, chillies, aubergines, cauliflower, bitter gourd, tomatoes and coriander. In contrast to the other owners, Suhail, Sunil and Atharv Deshpande spend a plenty of time on the terrace estate. “Aside from us, other tenants support us with the terrace farming requirements. Every Sunday, we also hold farming seminars where all of the inhabitants and their children participate in organic farming training's,” says Atharv, who is pursuing his MBA.

Abandoned cupboards are used to make field beds

Residents are not only recycling waste to cultivate organic crops, but they are also recycling other non-fertilizer products to make farming beds. Old water bottles, buckets, washbasins, cupboards, and beds are used to cultivate vegetables. “We're working hard to recycle everything we can in order to cut down on our terrace farming costs. Suhail continues, “We recycle, reuse, and reduce.”The society invests Rs 11,000 a month on its organic terrace farms, which includes the expense of a full-time gardener.

 

He goes on to say that “making a new bed for every plant takes 8 days.” “We fill the bed with dirt and water it for four days. Then we apply bionil, an organic fertilizer that improves soil fertility, water it for two days to make it nutritious for every vine, and then add the fertilizer. After that, we add more dirt. Suhail estimates that the procedure will take eight days.

Terrace farming also assists in the use of organic food by society people. Having an organic farm in their community has been extremely beneficial throughout the lockdown. “Of course, we don't eat vegan all of the time.

This, though, is only a pilot project for the locals, who are urging the rest of Mumbai's communities to join suit. GreensPerSqFt, the society's Instagram blog, teaches others how to start terrace planting and organic farming.

“The pandemic has intensified urban cities' reliance on agriculture. This concept of recycling trash into fertilizer and using it to cultivate organic vegetables would help communities become more self-sufficient in the future. Imagine a time when all terraces were cultivating organically... wouldn't that make for a better and happier life?” Atharv exits the room.

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