Navelim Panchayat, the torch bearer for waste management in South Goa
The Navelim village panchayat was presented with the ‘cleanest village in South Goa’ award under the aegis of the Swach Bharat Abhiyaan in December 2017. Not surprising, considering that this South Goa village, bordering the city of Margao has initiated several waste management initiatives which have borne fruit. To begin with, the newly elected panchayat led by sarpanch Vilma D’Silva, a professional nurse, appointed Navelim based waste management evangelist Eleuterio Carneiro as the convener of their waste management committee. Carneiro, a school teacher by profession is a self-taught waste management expert and has perfected the technique of using black soldier flies(BSF) to compost wet waste in an organic manner. Under Carneiro’s guidance, the panchayat erected 18, organic wet composting units across the village. While fifteen, 300 litre units were placed inside residential societies and individual homes, three units of 1,000 litres each were placed at the Navelim Panchayat office to take care of public waste generated from restaurants and small cafes nearby. The Panchayat office also has an automated wet composting unit. Today, almost 500 kgs of wet waste is sent to the panchayat office everyday by the local restaurants. Seventy five kgs of this waste is put through the automated machine and converted into dry manure within 24 hours. This is sold to residents at a nominal fee. Another 75 kgs is composted in the organic unit, while the balance 350 kgs of wet waste is equally distributed across the 15 organic wet composting units in the village. The panchayat also uses a tempo to collect 1.5 tonnes of dry waste from households in its eleven wards every fortnight. This dry waste which is stacked in the panchayat’s special garbage shed is picked up by the Goa waste management corporation(GWMC) periodically. However, given the large quantum of dry waste generated, the GWMC has advised the panchayat to invest in its own baling machine to pack the dry waste which can be used as industrial fuel. “We have initiated the process to acquire this baling machine,” deputy sarpanch Paul Pereira told the Café. Of course, much of Navelim’s success stems from the effective dissemination of the garbage segregation message to its villagers. According to Vilma D’Silva, her team uses the gram sabha platform to explain the benefits of segregation to its people. It is believed that every panch member too has been visiting villagers in his/her ward to talk to them garbage segregation. “We also communicate the segregation message to villagers in our 11 wards when our pick-up van goes to collect the dry garbage every fortnight,” D’Silva said. It is also clear that the garbage segregation message is percolating slowly and steadily across the village. Dream Acres cooperative housing society in the Dongirim ward of Navelim is a case in point. Following Carneiro’s repeated persuasion, the residents of this housing society finally appointed a private waste management contractor to take care of their wet and dry waste in November 2018. Says Evan Fernandes, society member, “On the contractor’s advice we have constructed wet composting pits and have kept bins for our dry waste. In one stroke, we have solved our garbage challenge.” Similarly, Antonio Rodrigues, a professional sailor living in the Fradilem ward of Navelim has also followed Carneiro’s advice and installed a 300 litre, organic wet composting unit behind his home. “We used to previously dump our wet garbage in the fields nearby. Today, we compost our wet waste and give the manure to the farmers,” Antonio said. The good news is that a real estate developer has agreed to finance the acquisition of eleven, new composting units of 1,000 litres each for the Navelim Panchayat. Says sarpanch Vilma, “We will be placing these units in residential areas across Navelim and will encourage villagers to use
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