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From waste to wonders: Mumbai-based Emgee Greens Society is making fertilizer out of house litter

The Emgee Greens Society in Wadala has been striving to be a zero-waste society for the last 2 years!

Mumbai-based Emgee Green Society in Wadala has caught the attention and appreciation of many for being a 'zero-waste' society for almost two years. The BMC garbage collection van has not detoured to this residential once in the said period which leaves one to wonder what exactly happens with the domestic litter that is generated daily by the 131 households that reside here? For the past 5 months, Emgee Greens is making fertilisers out of wet waste and it is the green-secret to their waste-free identity.

A green approach to produce organic food

Emgee Greens Society in Mumbai has imbibed the mantra of waste to wonder and is converting about 60 kgs of house litter and wet waste every day into fertilisers, and the harvest yields around 90 kilos of vegetables a month! This produce including spinach, fenugreek, aubergines, chillies, bitter gourd, cauliflower, coriander and tomatoes, that is grown without added pesticides or other chemical growth catalysts.

This groundbreaking green approach is not only beneficial to the residents, who are producing their own organic foods but also is shouldering the increasing problem of Mumbai's tremendous waste generation, each year. As per an eco-status report, the city single-handedly produced about 6,500 to 6,800 metric tonnes of garbage in 2019 and 2020.

Behind the scenes of this 'Urban Farm'

The backhand cacophony of this novel step included a lot of efforts and planning. While residents were encouraged to lend their support, initially the manufactured fertilizers had no buyers. It was only then when the society traced residents maintaining kitchen gardens in their balconies and this was scaled-up to begin terrace- organic farming about five months ago. Since then, Emgee Greens Society has generated about 1 tonne of fertilizer.

The material and garbage that cannot be converted into fertilizer is not discarded either. It is used to make the farm beds, which helps the residents recycle waste. Vegetables are grown in old water bottles, discarded buckets, washbasins, cupboards and even beds. These make-shift ideas not only reduce the waste but also the overall cost of running the terrace farm - a prime example of reduce, reuse and recycle!

All residents contribute equally to look after the needs of the terrace farm. Every Sunday, the society conducts farming sessions that are attended by the residents and their children. Besides this, the society also spends Rs 11,000 a month, including the cost for a full-time gardener here.

Emgee Green's private farm; a boon in the lockdown!

With the outbreak of a life-threatening pandemic and the consequent lockdown, people became a little more cautious of what they were consuming. As a result, the demand for organic food rose sharply. This is when the terrace farm emerged as a boon for the people. Although it cannot meet all the vegetable demands of the society residents, it surely catered to them to have an organic meal twice a week.

Now shining as a benchmark for other Mumbai societies to follow, their Instagram page, GreensPerSqFt is teaching about the benefits and ways to launch a private farm in every complex!

- with inputs from The Better India

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