Chennai resident advocates composting, treats grey water

Advocate T S Vijayaraghavan

Chennai: While there has been significant awareness about waste segregation and grey water harvesting in the city, only a handful practice eco-friendly approaches. Among the significant lot is, T S Vijayaraghavan, an advocate residing in Nanganallur. From his individual capacity, he has been doing composting, vermicomposting, managing terrace garden, harvesting kitchen water/grey/black water and has a biomethanation plant for the past six years.

“I come from a farming background. I have an urge for farming but completely city-bred. Rather than waiting to do something, I thought about the need of the hour and understood the importance of managing my household waste,” he tells News Today.

Being a busy advocate, all this methods are time-saving. “I spend only around three minutes a day to do the chores. It works just like a human being; it needs food every day to burn. However, this is not an omnibus solution, people can alter the solution based on their lifestyle,” he adds.

Elaborating his methodology, the 43-year-old advocate, says, “I feed the bio-gas with bio-degradable liquid waste every morning which hardly takes time. As for the rest, every day maintenance is not required and I do it once in three days.”


Bio-gas plant at his home

With a 0.5 cubic metre capacitated plant, Vijayaraghavan’s family uses bio-gas that ignites for an hour every day. “Five litre of liquid waste like leftover sambar and rasam is disposed separately in the kitchen which is used as the feed for the bio-methanation plant. As the plant functions, it releases nitrogen-rich slurry, which can be used as manure,” the Nanganalur resident says as he demonstrates the operation of the device and adds, “it is safe to use.”


Vijayaraghavan disposes the bio-degradable waste (fruits/vegetables waste) once in four-five days in his composting drum. Instead of khamba pot, he suggests drums for the process. “One need not lift heavy pots once it gets filled when we use drums in place of pots. Also, it is easy to maintain. We just have to feed the waste, sprinkle some water and rotate it frequently,” he says. It has to be rotated every few days to keep the compost well-mixed and aerated and the excess water will drip down. “Excess water will accelerate composting.” The resident also does vermicomposting.

Vijayaraghavan at his terrace garden


Vijayaraghavan grows ranakalli, siriyanangai (nilavembu), night queen, coriander, vritchi, crotons, nandhiyavatti and kokku mandharai mandharai among many other plants. Asked about nurturing, he says, “I just water it every day. Only a vegetable garden requires maintenance.”


In his independent house, he ensures to filter the grey, black and kitchen water and recharge the ground. “Three different pipelines are present for carrying the waste water, one among them carries the fecal matter. Filters are places in between that collects the solid impure particles. When the water flows down from two pipes, reaches the soil which filters further and recharges the ground,” Vijayaraghavan says.

Asked what can beginners do, he advises to do composting and use bio-gas.

As he walks around, he asks a question for everyone to ponder upon. “If we, the waste generators, cannot segregate; how can we expect the conservancy workers to do it?” It is this mere question and the urge to do his bit to the society, he took up the initiatives.

Bhavani Prabhakar