Growing veggies with hospital waste

Reny Vargheseane of Thane in India is described as a trailblazer. His relentless effort to produce vegetables with waste has taken him places, including winning the National Swachhata Mission award. The lofty mission started on his roof where his fertile ideas began blooming. Now, his new farmland — the backyard of the hospital where he works — feeds nearly 150 patients.

Varghese has now mastered the art of converting the wet waste — disposed of by the Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children — to compost. The green project was unleashed on August 29, 2017, as an answer to a flood that brought down the boundary walls of his residential compound, Vijay Garden Society, and eroded soil formed piles on the campus.

“We collected the mud in empty paint drums and planted seeds of vegetables like bhindi, lalmath, etc.,” he said. The drums yield enough crops to feed at least six families daily.

“Everyday, the hospital generates around 50 to 55 kg wet waste. The dry waste is sent to the municipality as well as to an NGO that recycles the product,” he said. “We put this wet waste in the compost. Finally, it becomes manure,” he added.

The manure used for in-house gardening and agriculture farm.

“We plant seasonal crops and the vegetables grown in this farm are enough for a one-time meal for 150 patients,” he said.

The 7,000-sq-ft farm yields okra, spinach, pumpkin, garlic, turmeric and tomatoes, fig, guava, custard apple, pineapple, lemon, etc.


Innovative? Risky? Clever? Enterprising? Well, for sure a bit of each applies to this neat idea. Safety however is something else and I would want to know a lot more about the process of conversion before consuming any veggies from this plot.


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