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Random Thoughts and News

Kitchen Waste Management - The Alc Way

Artificial limb Centre Pune has instituted a newer and simpler way of converting kitchen waste into compost. Used as a substitute for vermiculture, EM technology has been put to good use. First developed by Dr Teruo Higa in Japan, EM technology is now in use in 30 countries.

It essentially consists of the use of friendly micro organisms like phototropic bacteria, Actinomyces, Lactic acid bacteria and yeast contained in a stock solution (EM1 solution), which is diluted in rice wash water that has sugar added to it (EM 3 solution). This is added to kitchen waste in specially designed drums which converts the waste into compost, a process which helps plants grow better.

EM 3 solution can also be used to clean floors, de clog drains and as a de-odoriser precluding the use of chemical agents.

EM (Effective Microorganisms) Technology

Effective microorganisms (EM) solution is a living entity containing active microbes. It has no chemicals and no genetically engineered organisms. These microorganisms are extremely beneficial, eco friendly and totally harmless.

EM is very economical and easy to use. EM solution can be classified into 2 categories:

  • Original EM (EM 1) - shelf life of 6 months
  • Extended EM (EM 2) - 30 days

Important Points to be kept in mind while using EM

  • Use of phenols must be avoided
  • EM helps suppress E coli bacteria from water along with other coliforms
  • EM eats up sewage. After dying, they dissolve in the water so your drains are clean, odourless and drainpipes will never get clogged
  • Contamination of drinking water through leaking pipes reduced
  • Greatly improves earthworms in vermiculture
  • Drain pipes last longer and better
  • If EM is added everyday to the drainage system through sinks and toilets, then within a month or two you will see visible differences in septic tanks
  • Life of bacteria is one month only under ideal conditions, which do not exist.

Application of EM

Original EM - 1 ml: 500ml to 1000 ml of water
Secondary EM - 1 ml: 500ml to 1000 ml of water


  • Spray on sticky kitchen styles. Tile joints can be easily cleaned after 20 minutes
  • Spray inside oven and microwave oven. Wipe after a few minutes
  • Spray knives, kitchen cutting boards etc to remove grime
  • Spray exhaust fan while in motion
  • Spray inside refrigerator occasionally
  • Wash kitchen and other drains, slime will go. Drains will unclog
  • Spray kitchen waste bin. Odour will vanish
  • Spray pots and pans before using. Scorch and rust will be easily removed

For further details please contact Commandant, Artificial Limb Centre, Wanowarie, Pune -411040

Contributed by
Surgeon Rear Admiral P Sivadas,
Secretary, Indian Society of Hospital Waste Management (ISHWM)
08 May 2003

New method to convert waste into fuel raises hopes!

It could be the simple solution to Mumbai’s gargantuan garbage problem. That, at least, is the hope of Sharad Kale and his team at Bhaba Atomic Research center (BARC) who have developed a solar powered biogas plant to convert ordinary kitchen wste into fuel.

The plant installed at the Nuclear Agriculture and Biotechnology Division, has been taking care of all the kitchen waste in the BARC Canteens – some 600kg daily – for eight months now.

Scientists here are so satisfied with the results that they have got the Municipal Corporation interested. “ A Memorandum of Understanding is being worked out,” said Mr Kale, the Scientist working on the project, called ‘Nisarga Runa’. According to Mr Kale, the plant works on the same principle as gobar gas plants – the bacterial breakdown of waste produces energy – but with modifications which improves its output. These include a mixer and pre-digester which helps break down the waste into sludge before it runs down into the main tank where it is converted into methane gas. The gas is to be used in one of the BARC Canteens. Fertilizer is also produced as a by-product.

The plant requires no electricity. Even the pre-digester, which mixes hot water into the sludge to help decomposition, uses only solar power to heat up the water.

“And since there are no maintenance costs, the whole plant is extremely cost effective,” says Mr Kale. The present plant has a capacity of one tone and costs Rs. 5 lakhs.

According to him, the modifications have improved on the conventional biogas plant by widening the scope of any kind of biodegradable waste and improving the quality of the gas and fertilizer produced. “ The fertilizer is also richer, more effective.” The process period is also reduced from one month to ten days. Mr. Kale feels this plant could work well at the ward level in the city, reducing the burden on the overflowing dumping grounds. “Instead of transporting the waste to the grounds, it is brought to the local plant,” he says. The plant takes up about 300 square meters area. The BMC is considering plants with a capacity of processing five tones of garbage a day. On an average, a person generates 400 to 500 grams of waste a day.

A 5 – tonne plant will cost about Rs. 8 lakhs. Mr. Kale claims the cost can be recovered in two years since 5 tonnes of waste will generate 10 cylinders of gas. The first beneficiary may be KEM Hospital, Parel, which will get cooking gas if a local plant is set up to deal with the waste in the area.

Implementation in the city, however, depends on the segregation of waste at the household level.

The above news item appeared in the Times of India, Mumbai edition on 06 Mar 2002. Well! No doubt; it is a workable solution to take care of massive kitchen as well as paper waste. It may be ideal that the methane gas thus produced is directly used within the premises by providing safe and durable piping systems and stove and burners, since making provisions for filling up the cylinders etc. might require additional expenditure and perhaps Government sanction from appropriate authorities. One has to take adequate precautions to avoid direct exposure to methane gas, which might cause allergic manifestations.

Suggestions/Comments from readers are welcome and may be emailed to psivadas@hotmail.com

Surg Cmde P Sivadas,
Secretary ISHWM
08 May 2002

EM Drucker, PhD et al of Montefoire Medical Center, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine in US has published an article in the Lancet of Dec 8, 2001 titled

‘ The Injection Century’ in which he has traced the history of AIDS to un-sterilized hypodermic needles used in Africa in the 1950s. The author explains how relatively harmless monkey virus - Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) could have mutated into the deadly AIDS virus as a result of repeated use of un-sterilized hypodermic needles among 23 million Africans to whom Penicillin was administered during 1950s to combat yaws. They have hypothesized that this could have happened by ‘serial passage’. Is mutation the reason for the tenacious hospital acquired infection?

Contributed by
Air Marshal LK Verma