A national waste agency in India is trying to encourage recycling of its own waste by offering free composting to residents in rural areas.
The Indian National Waste Management Agency (INWMA) is the government body that manages waste collection in rural India.
The agency says it has collected enough compost to recycle 5.4 million tonnes of waste in 2017-18, of which 2.8 million tonnes were recovered and the rest of the waste collected and recycled by villagers in rural villages.
“We have collected enough waste for recycling of 5.8 crore tonnes of organic waste,” said Ashok Kumar, an associate professor in the department of environmental science at IIT-Delhi and a member of the Indian National Committee for Waste Recycling and Recycled Waste Management.
“Of the 5.7 crore tonnes collected, 2.4 crore tonnes were recycled and the remaining 4.5 crore tonnes have been reused by farmers in the fields.”
Kumar added that the compost has been distributed to rural households at no cost to them.
“For this, we are working with the farmers to distribute the compost to them,” he said.
“There is a clear message being given out that you should collect compost.
You can donate it and it can be composted,” he added.
Kumar, who also works at the Centre for Integrated Forest Studies, said that the recycling of waste has been going on for a long time, and the process is still in its early stages.
“If you take the example of composting, we have been doing it for many years,” he told Quartz.
“It has been around for about 30 years.
So what is new is that it is being done in a much more efficient manner.
The cost of compost is being reduced from the amount collected to the amount recycled.”
Kumar said the compost would be given to the local village to use as fertilizer.
“So far, there is a need for this compost in the rural areas,” he continued.
“A lot of farmers are not using compost in their fields because of the pollution that they have to deal with from the road.
The waste is going to the soil and then being treated.
So it will be a great source of fertiliser.”
In an earlier interview with Quartz, Kumar said that composting has also been given to people who are living in villages and are trying to curb pollution in the area.
“Many of the villagers who are collecting their own waste are using compost, and there is much to be done,” he explained.
“And the government has done a lot to make the compost available to the villagers.”