Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have launched a pilot project for converting massive quantities of weed extracted from famous Dal Lake into organic fertiliser, as part of Lake Conservation programme, which will also generate some revenue.
According to officials of the Lake Conservation and Management Authority (LCMA), nearly 70,000 cubic metres of weed is extracted from the Dal Lake every year, as part of a continuous process, to keep the macrophytes from overwhelming the ecosystem of the water body.
“… Till now, this weed used to get wasted. But now the department has taken an initiative and set up a plant where this weed will be converted into fertilizer. This is a natural fertilizer. We get around 70,000 cubic metres of weed every year,” Khurshid Ahmad Mir, Executive Engineer (Lake Cleaning and Monitoring Operations) said.
The LCMA has now signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) for converting this massive quantity of weed into organic fertiliser.
“The macrophytes, commonly known as weed, are part of the lake ecosystem. To maintain the aesthetics and not let these macrophytes overwhelm the ecosystem, deweeding measures are taken and in the past two years, we have deployed enough machines and labour for this purpose,” Vice chairman of the LCMA Bashir Ahmad Bhat said.
He said the process would involve various mechanisms including composting the weed.
“It is a commercial exercise wherein this weed will be converted into manure and subsequently based on the outcome of this pilot project, it will be made commercially available. We should be able to set it up in one or two months. Previously, this weed was disposed of very unscientifically at certain sites adjacent to the Dal Lake periphery,” he added.
Altaf Ahmad Bhat, incharge of the deweeding process, said the fertiliser made from the weed will be cheaper than chemical fertilisers and also environment friendly.
“This fertliser will be economical, as compared to the chemical fertilisers available in the market. It will be organic as it will be made through natural processes and will not have any ill effects,” he said.
Owais Rashid, a junior engineer in the department, said while the weed used to go waste earlier, it is now expected to be a source of revenue.