Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
CEA partners IWMI to turn organic waste into high-quality fertilizer
At the request of t he Central Environmental Authority (CEA), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) signed an agreement to collaborate towards Resource Recovery and Reuse in Sri Lanka.
IWMI and CEA join hands in targeting two main challenges that Sri Lanka is currently facing: Urban waste management and the need to increase farmers’ access to organic fertilizers. Wimalasena Rubasinghe, Chairman, CEA, and Jeremy Bird, Director General, IWMI, were the signatories to the agreement on July 19.
“Like in most parts of the developing world, solid waste is also one of the major water polluters in Sri Lanka,” said Bird. “However, its high organic content provides a potentially great nutrient source for farming. ”The cooperation will build upon the achievements of the ‘Pilisaru’ project of the CEA, which facilitated the setting up ofmore than 100 composting stations across Sri Lanka. “Phase 1 of the ‘Pilisaru’ project is coming to an end and project evaluation is a vital stepin formulating the next phase of the project,” said Rubasinghe. The evaluation of phase 1 is part of thisagreement that has been signed. Differences in performance between the composting stations will also be analyzed. Looking forward, this study will assist CEA in formulating activities for improving effectiveness of the composting process in phase 2 of the ‘Pilisaru’ project.
Addressing our waste challenges by making an asset out of waste is not only supporting agriculture but is also an important strategy which can help to reduce the indiscriminate dumping of waste in our waterways and thus lowering environmental pollution.
IWMI has a long tradition of working on resource recovery and reuse (RRR), and this is not only in relation to wastewater. IWMI’s work on domestic waste co-composting, for example, with fecal sludge started a decade ago after the Institute merged with the International Board for Soil Research and Management (IBSRAM), in recognition of the fact that plants needed nutrients as much as water.
Currently, IWMI studies about 150 RRR success stories across the globe and understands the major challenges involved. However, there are many positive examples of sustainable and viable compost stations. “A key characteristic of sustainable projects is cost recovery,” explained Dr. Sudarshana Fernando, Post doctoral Fellow - Resource Recovery and Reuse, IWMI. “To achieve this, stations have to produce a quality compost and carefully study its market.”