Asheesh Singh, the Indore municipal commissioner, was behind efforts that cleared 13 lakh tonnes of refuse in just six months through bio-mining.
As several parts of the country continue to struggle with India’s humungous garbage problem, an IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh has managed to clear over 13 lakh tonnes of refuse in just six months in the city of Indore.
Several kilometres away, a 100-acre dumpsite in Indore was overflowing with legacy waste—recyclables like plastic, metal and the rest that were damaging the environment in more ways than one.
Mountains of garbage were piling up, and combustibles like cloth, plastic, wood and paper would catch fire, polluting the air.
No uncle chips and Haldiram packets, no filthy peels of fruits, no plastic bags, no flies, no stray dogs.
But even as the citizens were extra careful about not littering Indore, the 100-acre dumpsite that bore the burden of several years of dumping, was still in a pitiful state.
Furthermore, even as the Indore Municipal Corporation was trying to execute bio-remediation work there, the process was moving at a snail’s pace.
This, till IAS officer Asheesh Singh was appointed as the Municipal Commissioner of IMC in May 2018.
Singh, who had dreamed of joining the civil services since he was a child, was determined to take up this project with a different strategy. He decided to complete it within a shorter time period and without costing the municipal corporation an arm and a leg.
He began with the idea that the dumpsite could be transferred into a beautiful golf course—a place that people would look forward to visit.
“Bio-remediation or bio-mining is an environmentally friendly technique to separate soil and recyclables like plastic, metal, paper, cloth and other solid materials from legacy waste,” he informed TBI, adding that, “The work was taken up on war footing, and bio-remediation of legacy waste of approximately 13 lakh metric ton of garbage was completed on 5th December 2018.”
Explaining further, he said that the topmost layer in a landfill is usually dusty and may have several materials that are still in the active biological state. This layers thus needs to be stabilised using herbal or biological sanitisers.
The sanitised layer is then raked through to pull out rags, plastic, rubber, textiles etc. Using horizontal screens, stones, bricks, ceramics etc. are removed before sending the segregated waste to appointed contractors or recyclers.
While the initial project took over two years to clear 2 lakh metric tonnes, Singh and his team decided to remove 13 lakh metric tonnes in just six months! And the result is simply dramatic!
Explaining how the garbage was disposed of in an eco-friendly way, the Singh says, “The recyclables recovered from the biomining process was sent for recycling, recyclable polythene was sent to cement plants and also for road making. The soil recovered was used for refilling the ground on the same site where greenery is being developed. The recovered construction and demolition waste were recovered and sent to the Construction & Demolition processing facility to produce building materials. The leftover, about 15% of the waste, was sent to a secured landfill.”
Asheesh Singh has shown us that if the right resources are employed and if our administration decides to take up such jobs seriously, landfills can efficiently be transformed into clean, green patches of land.
Kudos to him!