Characterisation of municipal solid waste compost (MSWC) from selected Indian cities—A case study for its sustainable utilisation

Utilisation of Municipal Solid Waste is important to curb the ever rising demand of scarce land for its disposal. Changing life style patterns, particularly in urban areas, has led to increase in generation of MSW. Municipal solid waste from Indian cities estimated to have 40% - 60% organic matter, which could be recycled as compost. The most suitable way to recycle it with low investment is aerobic composting using windrow method. With the compliance of Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000, many cities in India are making compost with organic portion of MSW. Before applying MSWC for agricultural uses, it is important to inventories heavy metals in compost to assess its toxicity. In the present study the compost samples were quantified for its toxicity from three highly populated cities of India, i.e., Delhi (Capital of India), Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and Bangalore (Karnataka). The MSWC samples were analysed for total heavy metals and in extractable fractions. Few samples were found with higher concentration of metals then the prescribed limits for its application as compost in Indian MSW rules, whereas, samples have not showed significant heavy metals concentration in extractable fractions. Therefore, studied MSW compost samples had demonstrated its suitability to use as green compost.