Does your compost pile stink?Growing population and rapid urbanization has led to the accelerated generation of solid waste in developing countries. Treating this huge load of solid waste generated is not always feasible to the municipalities due to numerous economic and organizational constraints. This leads to accumulation of solid waste in the dumping yards which may end up being burned. Landfills may result in contamination of ground water resources while burning may cause air pollution. Numerous other problems like infestation by insects and rodents may also be associated with these methods of garbage disposal.
However, around 30-40% of this garbage usually contains organic matter like vegetable waste,garden waste, paper etc. that can efficiently be recycled and put to better use. Composting, though an age-old practice, is the true solution for managing solid waste in cities. It is the conversion of organic waste into humus that can enhance the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil.
Composting involves three phases, and makes use of a diverse microflora like thermophilic and mesophilic bacteria and fungi. These microbes convert the organic waste into humus with the generation of carbon-dioxide, methane and water as by-products along with the generation of heat. Generation of heat ensures that any pathogens present will be killed and makes the compost fit for land applications.
The right mix of efficient microbes in the composting pile can ensure that the compost generated is of a higher quality. Also, if enriched microbes are used the process of composting is comparatively accelerated. The compost generated in this way can be used as a soil conditioner to improve the texture and productivity of soil. It also can protect soil against erosion due to its high water holding capacity. It can be used as manure for garden plants and planting media for artificial wetlands.
Municipal or household waste can be segregated and the organic waste can be composted very efficiently in this way, reducing the overall burden of waste disposal.