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Inspired by Ramakrishna Math, Mangaluru youth launch wet waste management start-up

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on February 12, 2020 Published on February 11, 2020

A worker of the Mangala Resources Management Institute, a start-up on solid waste management, handling wet waste at an apartment complext in Mangaluru.   -  SPECIAL_ARRANGEMENT

Initiative encourages pot-composting to save space and time, and put the waste to good use

A cleanliness drive by the Ramakrishna Math in Mangaluru has inspired a group of youngsters from the region to launch a start-up for wet waste management. 

The ‘Clean Mangaluru’ campaign by the Ramakrishna Math, which was launched in 2015 and focussed on weekly cleanliness drives and other programmes to create awareness, ended last October. However, a team of volunteers from the campaign went on to launch a start-up, Mangala Resource Management Institute (MRMI), to manage waste generated by households. 

Dilraj Alva, Director of MRMI and a volunteer with the Math’s Clean Mangaluru campaign, told BusinessLine that in the first phase, the start-up aims to make apartments in the city ‘wet waste-free’ through its pot-composting method. 

The start-up is guided by Swami Ekagamyananda of the Math, who designed and managed the Clean Mangaluru campaign for five years, said Alva.

Pot-composting method

Swami Ekagamyananda said the Math had promoted the pot-composting method during its five-year campaign; it even supplied pots to around 2,800 households in the city. Around 2,500 of them still follow the process, he added. 

Sachin Shetty, MRMI Director and a Clean Mangaluru volunteer, told BusinessLine a family of four-five members generates around 0.5 kg of wet waste every day. The Math’s pot-composting initiative helped residents convert that wet waste into manure. 

Many of those who implemented the method use the fertiliser generated in their own gardens. The ones without gardens, who mostly live in apartments, are gifting it to their friends or donating the compost to parks and other public places, Shetty said. 

Ease of use 

Earthen pots and waste bins kept for wet waste management at an apartment complext in Mangaluru   -  SPECIAL_ARRANGEMENT

 

While MRMI has several plans for the future, the focus in the first phase is on handling wet waste at apartments, said Alva. In this phase, three earthen pots and two waste bins each are distributed to each apartment. The pots are placed on 1.5-ft x 1.5-ft spaces near the pillars in the apartment parking lots. MRMI workers visit the apartments daily for maintenance and management of the wet waste. So, all that the user needs to do is supply the wet waste to the start-up in the bins. 

There’s a monthly fee of ₹150 per household and a one-time deposit of ₹1,000 that is returnable after three years. 

The Mangaluru City Corporation has asked bulk generators of wet waste, including apartments with more than 20 dwelling units, to handle it on their own or face a penalty, said Swami Ekagamyananda. Most queries for waste management come from such flat owners, he added.

Environment-friendly

Solid waste management yards typically need large chunks of land, and inconvenience the people in the vicinity due to the unpleasant odour. The use of 1.5-ft x 1.5 ft areas to handle wet waste helps put such land areas to better use, he said.

Also, transporting the waste to the yards consumes fuel and impacts the environment. The pot composting method addresses all these concerns, he said. 

Apart from this, the start-up is providing livelihood to many people involved in pottery making, he added.

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Published on February 11, 2020
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