Sunday, November 18, 2012


World over environmental pollution is an area, well recognized as a potential way of courting disaster for this planet. However very little organized efforts, here and there, do not make any meaningful impact on pollution. Global warming and its consequent impact on the denizens in the form of hot weather, uneven rainfalls, gigantic floods and unbearable drought conditions have not received adequate attention in wealthy countries like the US where people do not want to scale down their comfort levels in day to day life through even small sacrifices. Euphorically called "food scraps" that emanate from the dining tables of millions of house holds and food service organizations are enough to feed many hungry people in most under developed countries provided they are salvaged in time through systematic efforts. However for this to happen, such operations have to be be feasible technically or economically. Next best thing is not to allow these scraps to be a nuisance to the community around through age old composting process. Though theoretically it should be possible to do this by every player in this saga, there are practical constraints that come in the way of such practices being adopted by all. Here is a take on this problem from an American perspective.

"But composting your lunch isn't like recycling a pop can. Early tests of potential interest are mixed. Even some avid recyclers balk at recycling table scraps, which can bring smells and insects to their kitchens. And the environmental benefits are debatable. Skeptics don't think curbside food-scrap collection is worth the expense and extra pollution. "If it does not save money and doesn't do much for the environment, why are we doing it?" said Winston Porter, president of the Waste Policy Center in Virginia and a former assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. "We are not exactly running out of mulch in this country." 
If there is a will there is a way, so goes an old saying and for people with determination can still set up small composting units in areas slightly away from the kitchen, provided the house is a villa or a bungalow with some open space in the premise. A better approach could be community composting units collectively operated by volunteers which need a collection network that will clear the scraps at least twice a day on a predetermined schedule. It is praise worthy that some civic bodies are operating composting plants, selling the mulch for use in small gardens but the scale of operation is too small to make an impact as desired. This is where government must step in for creating an infrastructure in each urban settlements for scientifically processing food scraps and other biodegradable organic matters. The incentive based schemes such as the one reported from South America where families are given fresh vegetables grown in gardens maintained by the civic body in return for their garbage, can be considered by all countries for solving their urban garbage problem.


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