Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Climate friendly Garden waste management

Dear All, 

On last Thursday 7th Feb, 2019 we at Samuchit conducted a full day workshop on Climate Friendly management of Garden waste in Indradhanushya Environment and Citizenship Centre, Pune. I have been associated with Samuchit for the past two years now, however, this was the first time I participated in one of the core work areas of Samuchit related to waste management and climate change and I was super excited for the same.  

Though it was a full day workshop, Dr Karve, planned it in a very engaging, inclusive, detailed and free flowing manner giving ample time for questions and discussions. I am sure no one must have been exhausted at the end of the day except the speaker. 

Group Photo.
PC: Harshil R

In the first half part of the day, Dr Karve took us back to fifth grade science where she explained the carbon cycle that helps understand the critical phenomenon of Climate Change in a simple manner. She clarified a lot of myths around composting, burning and traditional/religious practices and explained the scientific reality. She also explained that garden wastes having higher generation rate and lower decomposition rate makes the management of this waste biomass more difficult. Even though burning of waste is prohibited, most housekeepers or helpers tend to burn this biomass in open air, creating a lot of local pollution.

Here, Samuchit's technology of converting the dried biomass (garden waste) into char through gasification plays a very crucial role. In this case only a small quantity of the biomass is burnt initially, that heats up and gasifies some of the biomass. The hot gas is burnt under controlled air supply, which then keeps the process of "heating - gasification - burning of gas" going.  This ensures practically smokeless waste management and The residue formed is char. Once the flame of the burning gas dies out, the char embers can be doused with water to prevent them from burning down to ash. The char can be used in multiple ways after sufficiently drying. More importantly, the char is nothing but solid nonreactive carbon which has been prevented from going into the atmosphere - this is a very low tech carbon capture technology that can help combat climate change. 

This char is also known as semi activated charcoal or Biochar. Dr Karve showed, short and crisp videos of setting up and working of the equipment known as Samuchit Transflasher kiln and Sampada gasifier stove. However seeing its working on site was the most exciting part of the workshop. A demonstration of both these equipments was undertaken by Prashant Borate and Karan Shelar in the garden area of Indradhanushya using available garden waste. This was a very enlightening session for all, since we not only saw the actual working of these kilns but also witnessed practical problems that can be faced while using these kilns and discussed about various issues around climate change and its impacts.  

Demo - Samuchit Transflasher Kiln

Interactions during DEmo

We had a quick working lunch and all of us were back to the second part of the workshop, curious to know what all can be done with this 'Biochar'. Biochar can be easily used in many applications. Samuchit is using this char for making briquettes that can be used as fuel. The procedure is simple but may not be feasible at such a small scale as a residential garden plot. However, a deodorizer or a natural air freshner is one of the most handy usages of this product. Instead of using naphthalene balls or air freshners that use chemicals to produce a fragrance, one can use this char powder that ensures that organic particulate pollutants, including aromatic compounds that produce bad odours, are removed from air. 

A hands on activity for making a deodorizer pack was undertaken by Prashant Borate giving a sense of handling the char. Using deodorizer is simple and hassle free. After using a pack of deodorizer for a month or two, one can simply put the char into the garden soil. The concept of using biochar for plants helps improve soil fertility and is sequestering carbon in soil. This helps in mitigating climate change impacts. 


Last and the most delicious part of the day, having steam cooked corn in Samuchit's Steam Cooker that works on the char briquettes made out of the biochar, was the most nutritious tea time snack we ever had. Dr. Karve showcased the working of this steam cooker through a video and Karan Shelar demonstrated its actual working and design in the hall. Based on the concept of slow cooking, Samuchit's Steam cooker ensures that the flavours are intact along with nutritional value of the food that is being cooked in this cooker.

Understanding the global problem of Climate Change and mitigating the same through such simple, local, easy to use solutions can help resolve the global problem in a very innovative way. Its important to know that though Climate Change is a global problem, I am the ONE who is responsible for creating it and only I can resolve it. 

For viewing the videos of kilns and Samuchit Steam Cooker click on this link. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQz1_oM7hY20oJsWoSDKPNg

Pournima Agarkar. 


Satish Vaidya said...

Really commendable work. This method can solve the problem of agriculture residue that is burnt on a large scale. I will like to attend the next session on the subject

Unknown said...

Yes absolutely true....

Vaishnavi said...

Wow, never knew there were so many amazing applications to biochar.

pournima said...

Thank you everyone!!!