Matheran has become the first hill station in the state to go garbage-free. The municipal council has shut down its dumping ground, converting it into a playground (though landscaping work remains to be done).
The Matheran Hill Station Municipal Council has achieved the feat using a three-tier garbage management system, wherein wet waste goes to a bio gas plant, dry waste is crushed and sold, while medical waste, including like sanitary napkins, is disposed of separately.
“The dumping ground has been shut as it is no longer required. Whatever recyclable waste was on the ground has been collected and sold. To prevent stench, cultured bacteria has been released on the surface,” said MHSMC’s chief officer Ramdas Kokare. In all, around 2.5 metric tons of garbage is generated per day in MHSMC’s jurisdiction, of which 1.5 MT is wet garbage (compostable) while the remaining is recyclable (barring medical waste). Most of the wet garbage is generated from hotels.
Kokare said, “Wet garbage from households and hotels is collected and transported directly to the bio gas plant. The plant is connected with a generator and lights up around 500 street lights installed across the hill station area. The plant can process up to 2.5 MT of wet garbage.”
On recyclable waste, he said, “Glass, plastic bottles, paper, etc, are now crushed and sent for recycling. Segregation helps in streamlining garbage management.”
MHSMC has also started collecting horse dung and started using it at the bio gas plant to generate more methane for generating additional electricity.
Kokare said, “All other waste, like e-waste, are being sold. Thermocol and plastic are sent for further processing and for roadwork. The municipal council has generated a revenue of Rs.2 lakh from the sale of waste items, which includes Rs.50,000 from recyclable waste.”