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Neelima Mishra, Green Crusader from Odisha promotes composting

Bhubaneswar: On a mission to aware people to manage their waste, Neelima Mishra has been promoting waste management through her start-up Ceiba Green Solutions. She has set up a Compost Cafe where she gives training about different types of home composting methods.

Various composting methods like vermicomposting, leaf composting, spin drum composting, composting, pipe composting, DIY composting, egg cell composting, making bio-enzymes and accessories required for composting are displayed in her cafe.

Sharing about what inspired her to start the cafe, she said, “Waste management is a major issue that needs immediate attention. I received a grant from the Pollination Project in 2022 which I utilised to develop a compost café where we have displayed various types of home composting methods. People from various fields come and they try to understand the process of composting the wet waste.”

After learning they either purchase compost bins or go back and make their compost bin as we also encourage DIY, she informed.

Her association with waste management started after the Climate Force Arctic Expedition held at Artic in 2019 and Neelima was part of the 80-member team from 27 countries.

“My journey with waste management started in 2019 when I went on the arctic expedition. There I saw a lot of plastic waste in the form of bottles, fishing nets, and plastics among others. I never anticipated seeing so much waste at the high reaches of the planet,” shared Neelima.

After returning to Odisha, I could only see waste all around me, she added.

“The site of wastes dumped on the roadside, or people burning the waste was common in Bhubaneswar. I even visited a few landfills where I saw some people gathering resources from piles of garbage,” she said.

Realising that Odisha is yet to develop the concept of waste segregation, she started some awareness activities in 2019. “I talked about generating less waste, generating less plastic waste, and to start composting wet waste at the premises,” she shared.

In 2019 she planned to take up an awareness campaign in various societies and apartments in Bhubaneswar but then Covid happened.

She went to the UK to pursue her MPhil in Environmental Policy, from the University of Cambridge on a Chevening Scholarship in 2021. But after returning from the UK in 2022, she completely focused her attention on the waste management sector.

Despite initiatives by the state government for waste management, it is still a major issue due to a lack of awareness. She has been regularly doing awareness activities on wet waste management in schools, colleges, institutions, and organisations. “We saw that a lot of government micro composting centers don’t enough capacity to manage so much wastes. As per research, 60 percent of the waste can be composted in a household, the rest 20 percent can be recycled, while 20 percent can be sent to a landfill,” shared Neelima.

Through Compost Cafe she is focused to help people in processing wet waste In Situ, which means on the premises itself. Students, government officials, and members of various organisations visit her compost cafe site to learn about waste management.

“Individuals, apartments, schools, and hotels should manage their wet waste on the premises itself. This way we could help in saving a lot of transportation costs and we won’t be dependent on the municipality. All the compost that would be generated will act as nutrition for the green spaces, or could be given to parks, family members,” she added.

Stating that macro awareness is needed among people, she said, “Young people need to be involved in the process. It cannot be just an enforcement campaign. Rather it should be a behavioural change campaign.”

“People need to understand why it is important. It is not a government duty, rather it is the responsibility of the person as well who has generated the waste. It has to be my waste my responsibility,” she exhorted.

December last year, she organised a dry waste collection drive where she visited various apartments and spread awareness about recycling household waste like e-waste, plastic waste, and paper waste among others.

She even plans to open an eco shop where products like bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo tongue cleaners, reusable pads, and eco-friendly straws among others would be available.

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