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26th April 1998

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The barrel does it

By Chamintha Thilakarathna.

Mounds of rotting garbage have long been an eyesore in the city and its environs. Now the Ministry of Environment has come up with an answer. A barrel. This is no ordinary barrel but one especially made to store garbage. It requires little space, and is environment friendly too.

To use it successfully, one must first separate all garbage into biodegradable and non-biodegradable items. Then, the biodegradable items could be put into the barrel which has been specially made to recycle the garbage into compost after a few days.

“The amazing fact is that when garbage is put into the barrel it does not stink, neither does it fill up,” said a lady doctorwho has been using it for some time now to dispose of her garbage.

Chulananda Herath, Executive Director of Sevanatha, an enviorment and development work oriented NGO which distributes, installs and makes these garbage disposal barrels said, “We put to test an idea of the Ministry of Environment which turned out to be quite successful.”

The barrel: its environmental friendlyHe said that the barrel has several holes on its sides to allow air through. The bottom of the barrel is cut to expose it to the earth and the top cover has an opening for garbage.

“How it works is that a few days before it is used it should be placed where the earth has been loosened. At this point only dry things should be put in which would help bacteria to develop. Once it develops consumers can put in any biodegradable item that will get recycled to compost automatically,” said Mr. Herath.

The barrel should be kept on top of afew bricks so that once the compost is ready to be used one can take it from the bottom without a problem.

“This is called aerobic decomposition,” said Mr.Herath, “that is why allowing air to enter is important and why it does not stink. There is no soil pollution either.”

The barrel which costs Rs 600 can be obtained from the ‘Sevanatha’ at Kotte.

“One bag of fertilizer is about Rs.85 and this saves not only money for the end result is compost but it also generates more than enough compost for a big garden as well,” said the lady doctor.

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