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How a retired Kerala village officer is championing waste disposal with worms

Udayakumar (Right) along with his friend Anil Kumar on the terrace of their building where they have installed vermicompost waste processing system using larvae of Black Soldier Flies. Image Credit: Special Arrangement

P P Udayakumar, a retired government officer in Kerala, has taken upon himself a mission to sensitise people about the critical importance of organically disposing of biodegradable waste at the source itself, using none other than humble worms. Udayakumar, 60, of Thrikkakara in Ernakulam, decided to spread the message on waste management after he successfully implemented an innovative waste management system at his own apartment complex where food waste is magically transformed into nutrient-rich manure, all thanks to the hard work of the wriggling larvae of Black Soldier Flies.

Udayakumar came up with this solution to dispose of food and kitchen waste generated at his home when Thrikkakara municipality stopped accepting food waste from households after the Brahmapuram fire incident. “One fine day, the municipality told us that they will not take kitchen waste. I am living in a building where nine families stay. So, we decided to come out with a solution. I consulted a friend who guided me to use larvae of Black Soldier Flies to treat biodegradable waste. As per his advice, we bought a couple of drums to set the treatment unit. We initially had some doubts but the system started working out well,” Udayakumar told “Open Digest“.

Though the families thought that there would be a smell from the drums in which the food waste and the larvae are put, they were in for a surprise when they realised that there was no foul smell. “There is no smell at all. We are really happy that we could find a solution to treat our food waste. Now the nine families use the vermi-compost system set up on the terrace to dispose of the food waste,” he said.

With community support and enthusiastic participation, Udayakumar has started to reach out to people explaining the procedures to set up the cost-effective waste management system. “For small households, the cost for setting up the system will come around Rs 3000. We should never put coconut shells or plastic materials along with the food waste. Also, water should not be poured into the food waste,” he said.

Udayakumar and other residents of the building have not only created a positive impact on waste reduction but also turned their kitchen scraps into valuable compost for the garden. “We will be conducting awareness campaigns to sensitise people from all walks of life about the virtues of organic waste disposal. When people understand the importance of organic waste disposal and see the benefits firsthand, they become conscious of their actions, making informed choices to protect the environment,” he added.

Udayakumar’s crusade to sensitise people about waste management serves as an inspiring example of how one person’s dedication can create a positive ripple effect. He is in fact nurturing a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable future.

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