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Insights and experiences, through essays and articles.

Waste Management: A New Paradigm
Rethinking on Garbage!!!

Shantharam Shenai, is the much talked about man, who has brought to the fore the natural ways of dealing with garbage, thus answering every negative aspect of disposal. He is known as the "garbage guru" and is in the process of setting up a project in partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region- Environment Improvement Society.


Natural eco systems like the deep burrowing earthworms can make a difference in the way we deal with waste management. By being a little cautious the way we throw garbage we can contribute in the process.

"Garbage" was first segregated as "Wet and Dry Garbage". Then it was converted into 'Wasted Natural Matter' and 'Wasted Manmade Matter', implying that the person who performed the 'act of wasting' was responsible.

With growing awareness the correct terms considered today are "Not Useful Natural Matter" and "Not Useful Manmade Matter".

Recent revelation is that misplaced organic matter, due to garbage, leads to epidemic. We welcome problems and then escape or try to rectify it. Better understanding will lead to new attitudes, eventually leading to new habits.

"Garbage" is generally natural and manmade, which is getting more and more complicated. Carelessly mixing organic and inorganic waste, we dispose them with a 'nimby' ('Not-in-my-Backyard') attitude, polluting the air, land and sea. The waste that is created has to be disposed off. At present, a lot of money is spent by our Municipal Corporation to collect, transport and dispose the waste. But this act of disposing off is causing unimaginable environmental pollution. The latest concern is the medical waste. In the attempt to destroy infected medical wastes, their burning converts a 'Biological Problem' into an alarming 'Chemical Problem'.


It generates acidic gases.


It liberates toxic metals like lead, cadmium, chromium and mercury from otherwise stable manmade products like plastics.


It creates toxic byproducts like dioxins and furans from chlorinated plastics, which are endocrine disruptors.


Pollution control devices that employ dry scrubbing techniques generate toxic ash while wet scrubbing generates toxic effluents.

The adverse impacts on human metabolism, reproductive biology and immune competence are tenfold. Also our conventional and contemporary sewage treatment plants only aerate the sewage but do not remove or extract the nitrates and phosphates. They are poured into our seas and rivers, thus wrecking the eco-systems, for time to come. Then, "why are we allowing such ways of disposal of products that create horrific problems?"


Citizens insist on mixing Not Useful Natural Matter with Not Useful Manmade Matter, thus, forcing the rag pickers to separate and recover some Not Useful Manmade Matter to earn a little money. Rag pickers are not a nuisance, but are Environment friendly without being employed by the Municipal Corporation. If people Do Take The Trouble Not To Mix 'Not Useful Natural Matter' with 'Not Useful Manmade Matter', most of the unsoiled, recyclable 'Not Useful Manmade Matter' will be available without cost.

Our practices of disposal of organic wastes lead to outbreak of Plague, Malaria and Dengue Fever. Waste is also burnt, but we run a risk of global warming. There are traditional and modern composting techniques. But here too, there is a tremendous loss of organic byproducts.

What we need are eco technologies, which destroy the pathogens without attempting to destroy the materials. Deep Burrowing Earthworm eco technology has answers to deal with infectious wastes. The "miracle workers", the Deep Burrowing Earthworms have a tough gizzard that is able to crush rock particles to the size of 1 micron, thus releasing valuable minerals inside their gut with its extremely high hemoglobin content. The aerobic bacteria inside the gut of the earthworm multiply rapidly, and work on the minerals and organics, which repeatedly pass through till it is "Soiled". When added to organic matter the chemical conditions help in synthesizing vitamins, antibiotics, besides other products, which are yet to be understood. The pH conditions inside the gut of the earthworm are just right for this miraculous processing.


In the forest, 1 cm of topsoil takes about 200 years to "manufacture". But today, the "Deep Burrowing Earthworms" prove a technical tool, to utilize our organics, produced from city life, into a miraculous and extremely valuable bio-fertilizer or topsoil with magical properties.

This can be utilized in city sanitation, city toilets, recycling of sewage, and restoration of saline soils and degraded lands, besides the conversion of chemical farmed land into organic farmed land, without loss in yield.

This Eco-technology can be handled by an individual, a housing society, on a community level and a municipal level. This bio fertilizer ensures chemical and pesticide free crops, fruits and vegetables, which give us good nutrition leading to good health.

In the endeavor to produce soil, nature has scavenger creatures like rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes, etc, acting as an elaborate nitrate recovery mechanism essential for the creation of topsoil. However these creatures are helpful only if population remains below a critical level. It has been revealed that there is a comfort zone for each of these creatures in terms of pH and moisture. No amount of poisoning and fumigation can make significant dent on the population of scavenger creatures unless the acidic food supply caused by purifying garbage is dealt in simple manner.

Dioxins - Effects of waste disposal

Dioxins are bad for mankind - Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum from the U.S. Environmental protection agency, states, "Dioxin affects binding proteins, it affects hormones, including thyroid, estrogens, androgens, glucocorticoids, gastrin and insulin. This in turn changes homeostasis in the organism. It affects growth factors, leading to changes in the proliferation and differentiation of cells in culture. All this results in subtle changes in enzyme activity indicating liver changes, in levels of circulating reproductive hormones in males, in reduced glucose tolerance, and in cellular changes related to immune function

Dioxins are family of toxic substances that scientists call polychlorinated di-benzo-para-dioxins. They can be transported in the atmosphere over long distances and are found everywhere.

Important sources of dioxin releases to the environment include municipal waste incinerators, iron manufacturing, cement kilns, and some chemical dumps. High levels in the environment can generally be linked to specific sources, such as chemical dumps.

Dealing with waste in natural ways can help reduce dioxins level in the environment.


Let us attempt at handling waste instead of vainly fighting the forces of Nature. Any act of controlling has to be done in harmony with existing natural chemical processes.



The deep burrowing earthworm vermiculture techniques is a good solution to recover from the brink of disaster.


The strategy of Utilization can result in incalculable wealth and harmony for life in our rural areas and good health for our urbanites.


For pest control in the city or rather pest harmonizing, a simple way to rapidly correct the pH imbalance is to use Lime and other mineral bearing rock powders from stone crushing quarries.

Sanitation has to be reworked, keeping in mind Nitrate Balance, pH, and moisture. The sewage system was designed by a plumber and improved by hydraulic engineers. Today, the input of a microbiologist is urgently needed. It cannot be left to an engineering department. All these waste handling systems need to be urgently re-engineered. By just obeying a few simple rules of nature, it is possible to live in Harmony, Dignity and Prosperity. Life can become a celebration!

Various seminars and demonstrations are held on how to implement these programs and training is offered to concerned citizens, municipal officials and their staff. Also specific solutions are designed for specific problems.

Contact for Details: - Green Cross Society Foundation, Mumbai, Versova Municipal Sewage Pumping Station, Opp Indian Oil Nagar, J.P. Road, Andheri (West), Mumbai 400 053
E-mail: (added later) (added later)
Cell: 093241 56273 (added later)

Credits To

Dr. H.S.Shankar, Dept of Chemical Engineering, I.I.T Powai, Dr. Uday Bhawalkar (PhD), Shrm. LATA SHRIKHANDE, of Kanchan Gully, Pune, Fatima Vengurlekar, my parents and my wife Sneha.

It is dedicated to my Spiritual Guru Sri Ravishankar (Art of Living Foundation)




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