For the past couple of years, the municipal corporation’s designated waste collector has not visited Amarjyoti Kashyap’s home in Guwahati’s Hatigaon area. It’s not that Kashyap’s home doesn’t generate any waste, but he doesn’t part with the ‘precious wealth’. A former professor of environmental science and now head of NGO Environ, Kashyap has spearheaded the ‘Waste Assimilator’ concept, implementing it in the rural areas of 15 of Assam’s 33 districts. “Every household generates a high amount of biodegradable waste, which is either buried or handed over to municipal corporations, leading to pollution,” says Kashyap.
The ‘Waste Assimilator’ is a concrete drum with a tap at the bottom. The biodegradable waste dumped into it releases a liquid ‘microbial wash’ or ‘vermiwash’, which can be used as organic manure-cum-bio-pest repellent. “Soluble nitrogen, phosphorus and potash are the main components of ‘vermiwash’,” says Kashyap. “It also contains hormones, amino acid, vitamins and enzymes, which helps develop resistance against pests in crops.”
The drum fills up in about three months. The waste inside takes another month to turn into manure. “The manure can be used in the fields to improve the soil quality,” says Kashyap, adding that every household needs to keep just two drums to gainfully use the waste generated every day.
In 2016, Kashyap’s concept impressed state chief secretary Vinod Kumar Pipersenia, who was the first to implement it in the IAS officers’ colony in Guwahati. As word spread, farmers from villages and tea gardens approached Kashyap for help.
To cater to the large-scale needs of communities and villages, Kashyap has designed a ‘Community Waste Assimilator’ in Palasbari in Goalpara district to manage biodegradable solid waste. In 2017, his waste assimilator won the Innovation Award from Millennium Alliance, a consortium of Indian and international governmental and development agencies. He also received the Guwahati Green Leadership Award on World CSR Day this year.
With the demand for organic farm products growing, Kashyap’s model provides for a cheap solution. “High use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers has damaged the soil at many places, leading to heavy losses for farmers. Most organic farming practices in India failed due to insufficient bio-pest repellents and organic manure. Our waste assimilator provides that much-needed solution,” says Kashyap.