Tuesday, March 5, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Biogas technology for all by VAAYU

Dear All,

Picture collage

Under the Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune initiative as mentioned in my earlier blog we are showcasing local sustainable technologies that can be adopted by anyone who yearns for a Sustainable lifestyle. 

In the last week on 28th Feb, we successfully conducted a workshop in collaboration with Vaayu Mitra who deals with household Biogas technology by conversion of kitchen waste to fuel. Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe the promoter of this technology is an enthusiastic engineer who has been driving this initiative to go LPG free by using household organic waste. There are almost 130 installations till date that are converting about 1 ton of food waste per day. Right from school going children to aged senior citizens can easily operate this technology. It has been installed in more than 10 cities now. 

We got an overwhelming response to the workshop held in Indradhanushya centre for Citizenship and Environment Education and that too on a weekday evening. It just shows that Pune is slowly moving towards a Sustainable City which is the aim of our project on Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune.

I would like to narrate some key aspects of the workshop that fascinated me.

I briefly tried to explain the relevance of this workshop to our study that we have been doing on making the city Sustainably SMART through Citizens active participation and engagement. We are playing a role of a connector between the citizens and Sustainable solution providers. Our idea is to reach out to more and more people with sustainable solutions in order to enable them towards sustainability and in turn making the city Sustainable.

Then, Priyadarshan Sahasraddhe, introduced the technology and its working with the help of a diagram and narrated his journey which was quite a struggle to apply engineering fundas on ground. He mentioned that meeting Dr Anand Karve and working under his guidance for developing the biogas technology helped him learn key lessons. Apart from this he believes in 'Small is beautiful' and linking it to Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) has been his idea of a Green Investor.

We were fortunate to have Dr Anand Karve in the workshop, being a botanist and an innovator having a scientific aptitude, he explained the basics behind the functioning of Biogas very well. Though he is not a microbiologist, I have never heard anyone talk about microbes and bacteria so well as he does. He is a pro bacteria man I can say. How do bacteria's function and what they need he knows very well. He always talks about sugar as the main source of food for bacteria and how efficient they can work once they get their dose of sugar, is something that has been one of his successful findings.

As mentioned earlier, school students are operating this plant at their school and are saving quite a lot of energy in the school. Two active and very responsible students of Jnana Probodini school Chinchwad explained how the model is not just a project of the school, but their friend whom they take care by giving timely input of food and in turn it gives them energy, manure and lots of lessons. I feel that schools having such LIVE and active projects managed by students themselves, not only make them better humans but also better role models of Sustainable lifestyles. Listening to them gave a new hope for the future generations and a Sustainable human society that coexists in harmony with its surrounding.

We also had SWACH representatives here who shared their experience of using Vaayu. The confidence they gained, showed how empowered they feel by using this technology and running it as a self sustainable model for organic waste management.

Then a group of Vaayu mitras, people who are using Vaayu at their homes daily, came up and shared their experience. Each Vaayu mitra is happy to have the Biogas in their house. They explained that there is a trial and testing phase with Vaayu, but once we get familiar with its behavior, it becomes a member of the family playing a crucial role and making us feel proud that we not only manage our organic waste but also generate our own fuel. 

One of the Vaayu mitra, a lady named Mamta, working on a farm and operating three Biogas plants needs a special mention. I liked her way of expressing her experience she was absolutely natural. She rightly mentioned that there is no waste in nature, even the leftover food has potential to generate energy if utilized appropriately. She clearly stated that if such installations of Biogas are available in the village through BachatGat schemes then the women in the village using smoke generating fuelwood that causes harmful impacts on their health as well as the forest will be healthy and smoke free. Though she is smoke free now because of Vaayu, she yearns that her fellow beings in the village should also get relief from the smoke. When we talk about Sustainable technologies they should be based on a win-win approach and her speech truly reflected it. Hats off to her!!!

Listening to all of their experiences and knowledge they have gained, it simply showed that how each one feels socially responsible and are happy to contribute their bit for the society. Dr Javdekar one of the senior most member using Vaayu stressed that how economically it is viable in his house where their yearly quota of LPG cylinders has been reduced drastically.

I wondered if generating fuel at source may be hazardous, however the plant is completely safe to be used at a household level expressed each and every Vaayu mitra. However space is something that is required for setting up a considerable capacity of Vaayu to make it viable. Nevertheless its worth an investment, may be at a society level, if not feasible at a household level, for ensuring sustainable management of organic waste.

Dr Priyadarshini Karve concluded the session where she stressed on the Citizens role in making a city Sustainable and how such local solutions are the key to resolve the global problems.

I am glad that we have video documented the entire workshop, the video will be available soon for all. Meanwhile if anyone wants to know more about Vaayu, please feel free to contact Priyadarshan S at priyadarshan.21@gmail.com

Pournima Agarkar.