Everybody generates waste. Currently, in India, 960 million tonnes of solid waste is being generated annually as by-products during industrial, mining, municipal, agricultural and other processes. As citizens of our country, we have a responsibility of disposing of wastes for the sake of protecting the environment. There are many ways to do it, but if proper methods are not implemented it can harm the environment more than help it.
Apartment complexes, where many families live together, produce a lot of waste. Hence it is necessary to get rid of the waste too. What better way to do it than composting. Many apartment complexes around the country have installed a new 24-hour composting machine that promises to turn massive amount of waste into compost within a day. Well, it’s easy and takes less time than usual but there are major flaws in the functioning of these machines.
The Logical Indian spoke to Savita Hiremath, a writer and expert on green waste and composting talks about the functionality and the output of these 24 hour-composting machines.
“We have to all first understand that composting is a natural and organic process that happens in the presence of microbes. So, when these companies come up with claims of facilitating compost within 24 hours, it really is difficult to believe,” she says.
Composting is an intricate process that happens in nature. The standard process takes at least 30-45 days to happen. It happens in the presence of air when organic solid materials are decomposed in presence of bacteria and other microbes. Only after all the food material (carbon and nitrogen) is over, the bacterias die, leaving behind enzyme.
Eco-care or beware!
Scientifically, there are no microbes that can colonise within 24 hours. The minimum incubation period for microbes is 48-hours to 72 hours. It usually takes days to start composting. Thus, 24-hour machines do not compost.
What these machines do is an entirely different process from composting. These machines simply remove water and other volatile components out of the organic material thrown into it for composting.
Savita says that people are more environmentally conscious nowadays. So, big societies and apartment complexes urge to be more environmentally friendly while disposing their waste and hence are buying many 24-hour composting machines unaware about the environmental consequence of such machines.
“Many a times the waste that goes inside there is not entirely organic waste. Sometimes plastic waste get into it and thus, when the processing starts inside the machine, it releases toxic fumes which are very harmful for health,” Savita clarifies. These toxic fumes that contains carcinogens get into the air we breathe.
She also says that when she got the end product she got it checked by an expert. “What comes out of these machines is not compost, but burnt carbon.” She regrets how government bodies are letting companies selling these machines go scot-free. Moreover, the wrecked-up electrical conductivity of such ‘compost’ can damage the soil composition and kill plants. These are machines that were rejected in countries like Canada but are allowed to be used in our country.
“These 24-hour composting machines are wreaking havoc on people’s lives,” Savita further adds.
The Logical Indian Take
While it is good to see that people are getting more conscious when it comes to waste disposal, it is also necessary to use the right process.
Composting is an important process. It replaces the need for artificial fertilizers and pesticides. It facilitates the growth of beneficial bacteria that turns soil in humus, a rich nutrient. It is good for the growth of plants. It does not take more than 3-4 weeks for waste to turn into compost, hence, it would be good for the environment and also for human beings if it is done in a natural way.