30,000 households in Dakshina Kannada install compost pipes


Nestled among the hills of Dakshina Kannada are scattered houses with just one house in every 10 acres, quite unlike the colony style settlements common in cities.

The district administration found it difficult to collect waste from such a spread out community. Under these circumstances, many families in the district, which is home to 230 Gram Panchayats including 368 villages,collected their waste – both wet and dry in plastic bags. The accumulated waste polluted the area, attracting birds and animals and also caused damage to the nature.

In October 2015, with a view to addressing this issue, the district administration led by P. I. Sri Vidya, CEO of the Zilla Parishad, introduced compost pipe technology to manage bio-degradable waste, as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin.  The simple compost pipe technology is low cost, requires low maintenance and occupies less space.

Many colleges were involved in the installation process. According to the Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Alva’s Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mr. Durgaprasad Alva, their institute conducted awareness sessions in Temkamijaru GP about the technology and its benefits to all stakeholders, giving them options to manage waste – pit compost or pipe compost, the latter being more suitable for smaller properties.  A detailed multimedia presentation was made followed by a 10-minute film called ‘Bhuvi’ on the need to protect earth.

Once the pipes were installed, students of the institute visited homes after 15 days to review progress and found the communities satisfied with the compost pipes.

According to Manjula Guddehithlu, District Coordinator, the use of compost pipes got people to segregate waste at the source and manage their biodegradable waste.

“As on March 2016, nearly 30,000 families in the district have adopted this system,” she said.

The district administration sends a vehicle once a week to collect the dry waste and sends it to recyclers.

Bakery owner, Mr. M S Bhat who has a one-acre property with 150 areca trees and 40 coconut trees found the compost pipes very useful.

“We get sufficient manure to meet our needs,” he said.

How to install compost pipes

  •  Cut a 10-12 feet long cement pipe with a diameter of 6-12 inches into two equal parts. Do not use PVC pipes as they heat up and destroy enzymes.
  • Embed into the ground at 1.5 feet deep. Height needs to be adjusted so that a person can reach the top to drop waste.
  • Pour into first pipe one kg of sugar diluted in one litre of water and about 2 kgs of cow dung.
  • Drop all shredded biodegradable waste, refuse from the kitchen. Avoid putting non-organic waste such as plastic, metal and glass.
  • Put a handful of mud and half a mug of water once a week.
  • When first pipe is full (in about 3-4 months), keep covered.
  • Follow same procedure with second pipe.
  • When second pipe is full, remove the contents of first pipe and use it as manure in kitchen garden. When waste is transformed into manure, quantity reduces to 25%.
  • Use first pipe again using the same method.



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