Environmental Initiatives

Since its inception, the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) has been committed to the cause of Swachhata and becoming a Zero Waste Generation Centre. Actions towards that commitment include: maintaining a litter-free campus by having numerous dustbins, zero usage of single-use plastic disposables (like plastic cutlery, straws) in any of the events organised by the centre, and most importantly reaching out to students, teachers, teacher-educators and the citizenry through our outreach initiatives. 

Related Events

Sr. No Year Date Event Poster/Photo
8 2023 17 March Cleaning agents and detergents (Ankush Gupta)
7 2022 7 April Waste management journey at HBCSE (Adithi Muralidhar and Ankush Gupta)
6  2021  9 Sept Orientation to new canteen and garden staff on waste management  (Ankush Gupta, Adithi Muralidhar)  
5 2021  16 Aug Orientation towards waste management for garden staff (Ankush Gupta, S.D, Pardeshi, Adithi Muralidhar) Click here
4  2020  26 Sept Talk: Integrated and Sustainable Solid & Liquid Resource Management Project (C.Srinivasan) Click Here
3 2019  11 Apr Talk: Campus Solid Waste Management (Ankush Gupta & Adithi Muralidhar)  
2 2018 4 Oct Thursday Seminar: Bleed green—Managing periods the eco-friendly way (Indumathi Nirmalkumar)  
1 2016 13 Oct Thursday Seminar: The processes in composting: The natural and the anthropogenic (Ankush Gupta)

Initiatives on Campus 

HBCSE is currently composting its garden waste and food waste from its canteen and hostels. As of September 2019, HBCSE's composting facilities have produced over 600kgs of compost.  Currently four kinds of composting systems are being implemented in our campus:

1. Vertical drum composting: This type of composting uses large plastic barrels (250 litres) that are perforated at regular intervals for aeration. In these barrels, food waste from canteen is mixed with shredded leaves, cocoa-peat, previously made compost, green leaves and culture. We have a leaf-shredder which is used to shred dry leaves from our garden. The mixture of food waste and shredded dry waste is filled till 1/3rd of the height of the drum. The conten of the drum is mixed each day or on alternate days for about two weeks. After this, the contents are left to decompose further for another week. Finally, the compost is taken out and spread out to dry. It is sieved and stored in bags for later use. The standing drum composting facility was set up with the help of scientists from BARC's Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division.

2. Rotary drum composting: HBCSE has two rotary drums, one each of 300 L and 500 L capacity in horizontal configurations. In these drums, food waste from hostels is added along with shredded dry leaves, and culture, till the drums are half full. The drums can be easily rotated by hand. The rotation ensures proper aeration in the drums.There is a short pipe below the drum that helps to drain leachate. The drums are rotated 2-3 times a day. At the end of 3-4 weeks, the contents are taken out and dried for further use and storage. 

3. Pit methods: HBCSE campus has two pits in the garden area each of which is dug about 1 meter deep. Leaves from the garden are collected here. A small amount of fungal culture based on a technology developed by BARC is added to these pits to aid decomposition of cellulose and lignin in the leaves. 

4. Heaps: Though not intentionally designed, a lot of garden waste (small twigs, tree trimmings, leaves) gets accumulated in heaps in parts of our garden. Over time we discovered that due to effects of rain, high aeration and heat (+ high humidity of Mumbai), these heaps also turn into compost within few months.

A significant portion of the compost generated on campus is sieved in order to have fine-size compost particles which are well suited for use in potted plants and smaller garden patches. Sieving compost is also an interesting educational activity for students, as it helps them to see and understand different components of a ready compost. 

Visit Photo Gallery: HBCSE Waste Management

Compost for Use: The centre has excess compost and we are happy to give it for free to educational institutions and NGOs for their gardening or educational activities. The organisation/individual may send a written request for compost to sdp@hbcse.tifr.res.in 
However, please note that the organisation/ individual must arrange their own labour or transport to collect the compost from our centre.

Segregation of Waste on Campus
Currently, the campus segregates waste not only as 'Biodegradable' (wet) and 'Non-Biodegradable' (dry), but the latter is further being segregated into paper and cardboards, electronic waste, plastic bottles, glass waste, laboratory waste and sanitary waste. The Stores Section handle E-waste. Provisions to responsibly collect and dispose sanitary and medical waste separately have been made on campus via an authorized medical waste collector.

Awareness Drives and Initiatives
Going hand-in-hand with the above mentioned waste management policy was a sustained awareness campaign which involved: putting up over 100 posters (in English, Hindi and Marathi) on all campus dustbins, restrooms, walls and notice boards notifying the staff and visitors about 1) segregation of waste 2) types of dry and wet waste 3) responsible disposal of sanitary and medical waste 4) toilet etiquette and 5) location of bins. The centre also started a small organic urban farm maintained by volunteers and garden staff, which along with the composting facility is being used as an “outdoor laboratory” to engage youngsters in actions that support sound environmental practices. 

The various efforts towards becoming a Zero Waste Generation Centre could not be possible without the sustained support of the Cosmetic and Garden staff at HBCSE. 

Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas and questions on effective waste management with:

Ankush Gupta (ankush@hbcse.tifr.res.in)

Adithi Muralidhar (adithi@hbcse.tifr.res.in)

S. D. Pardeshi (sdp@hbcse.tifr.res.in)