FloodSinks: Simple and only solution for city floods

When we see people tweeting or commenting on facebook about city floods in Srinagar, Sydney, London or any other part of the world they are just reconfirming that city floods are on rise and not much is being done to abate the intensity of the floods if it occurs in their backyard. Fully cemented and end to end streets, concrete flooring in housing societies leave no room for water to sink under ground. Open grounds also looses water seeping capacity over a period of time because of human activities on the top soil.  When water of nearby river swells or continuous heavy rains  enter the town there is no option for water to disappear. Small intensity water can be passed in sewer or storm water drains. But that also does not make water to disappear only to pass it from one place to another. At this point we can only hope Govt and Administration to rescue us and put us in camps and completely forget about our belongings back at home from being ruined  whenever flood happens to our town. We can not expect much from govt or rely on them to stop flood from happening and destroying valuables and putting human lives on stake.

So what is the solution for people if this happens to their town? Simple solution lies in making water disappear under ground. But how it is possible for mostly concretely covered town? Then I will say It is possible at citizen’s house level by building a simple FloodSink because they are most affected by this.

A FloodSink is a simple soak pit on your ground floor of dimension 4′ (long) x 4′ (Wide) x 6′ (deep) which has capacity to soak thousands of liter of flood water. If all the house with a typical plot area of 100 sq meter (1000 sq feet) have one #FloodSink in any corner of their house then city floods can be reduced in great intensity. At the time of flood, water before entering in to our house will pass through these sinks and immediately start being sucked to the ground.

How to create a #FloodSink : Find a low lying area in your house premise. Dig a 4 feet long, 4 feet wide and 6 feet deep pit in the Ground soil.  Fill it with sand up to two feet, coarse sand or fine concrete up to 1 feet, small concrete stones up to another 1.5 feet and at the top fill it with gravels as shown in illustrative image below.  Never ever put cement or try to solidify inner walls of the FloodSink. On the mouth of pit put a metal lid or stone slab to cover it fully to keep it away from day to day dirt and garbage.  As a thumb rule 4’x4’x6′ is good for 100 square meter area. For big housing societies we can have multiple FloodSinks. All Government building having cemented floors on open areas must have these sinks to compensate for water not being soaked by cemented area. Parking areas are best suited place to build these. Storm water drains  can also have small FloodSinks (2-3 feet deep) at regular intervals on their floors. It will help reduce water intensity as the water flows in them.


FloodSink Fiillings


Metal Lid (Stone Slab) to cover FloodSink

How FloodSink works: Whenever there is danger of flood approaching just open the FloodSink lid. Flood Water (mild muddy water ) will start entering the sink. It will pass through gravels, concrete, sand and will clean itself of mud. Mostly clean water will hit soil pores at the bottom and its surrounding area. Water will start  being soaked in the ground and start disappearing for us.

Few other habits which helps:    Always have flower quarries  below floor level. There should not be any high brick separator or divider. There should be at least 1/2 inch sand layer covering top soil. Sand helps maintain top soil’s porosity and garden being lower to floor level starts immediately sinking water in it. Same is true for tree base. Never build wall around a tree for sitting purpose or covering it and leave bottom soil of it uncovered with tar or cement so its soil can absorb some water.


Garden and Quarries should always be lower than floor level and should have no separator

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Blooming Garden (and Clean City): Green waste management WITHOUT COMPOSTING in a simple and doable process

Green-WasteOne concept which I am following at my house for last 3 years with remarkable effect both for environment/society and my garden. This is a very simple and doable-from-day-one process to manage green waste and that too without composting. It does not require any investment and outcome of the same is more useful than composting.

This concept is also validated by Dr. A.D. Karve of ARTI, Pune.  Please read this in detail and if you find useful follow it and I would love if you promote it at your best level.

One small step which not only makes our city stink free but makes our garden bloom at the same time. And it is NOT about composting your green waste.

When we see overflowing bins on streets and face most of the stink, we know it is coming from the green/wet waste in the bin that is rotten now. I am also repelled with awful smell whenever I walk away from front of any big societies. I always thought why not people compost their green waste or start vermi-compost. Though, this may require some effort and initial investment but it is useful for them and they can use this compost for their plant/garden use. But later, from my personal experience I found composting was not easy, and later I myself stopped it because of the some awful smell and looking after required for the composter. At the same time I did not stop researching how to dispose our green waste in natural way that does not require composting. I spent lot of time on net but all the time I came across only at composter and variety of composter. One fine day I just had chain of thoughts which resulted in a conclusion – a bright conclusion, where
existed the solution for big problem of stinking (in more sophisticated manner called green waste management). The icing on the cake of the solution is that I am getting better results compare to composting (for waste management and for my garden). I will walk you through 1-2-3 of my chain of thoughts and at the end you will see the solution itself. This is so much convenient and doable from day one and without any investment.

My chain of thoughts and actions therefore:

1. Mostly all green waste i.e. vegetable/fruits cut/peel, used flowers, plant cuttings has more than 90% water and rest substance. This substance contains carbohydrates, protein, fibers, minerals etc.

2. If this is left lying in open just like that or mixed with soil, the moisture will cause rotting the substance. It will take some time for natural heat to remove moisture and dry out green waste, and compelteley drying out may take up to 60-90 days. I did this for some duration but it looked very clumsy and vegetable cuttings/peels were always visible in soil.

3. When One day I saw green chutney being prepared in my Phillips Grinder Mixer I was astonished the way a whole bunch of green coriander (dhaniya), chilies, ginger, tomato etc got crushed and very small volume of watery chutney was the outcome.

4. This was the turning point of my thought process and pushed me for experimenting with green waste.

5. From that day onwards I collected all vegetable/fruit peel/cuttings, used flowers, plant cuttings in a clean bowl the way we treat vegetables itself with due respect.

6. In the morning I took all the so called green waste (now onwards I will not call it waste) in my mixer and ran it for 2-3 minutes (did add some water so mixer runs smoothly). I got green soup/slurry as expected. Later I mixed the same with my full water bucket for my garden/plants. This way this green slurry became very diluted.

7. I watered my garden plants with this highly diluted green slurry. To my surprise this was absorbed by plants by the noon. And there remained not very visible light green layer.

8. I did (rather I convinced my wife to do it) it for another few months. The results were surprising. No smell, No waste and high growth of flowers and plants in my garden.

9. High growth of plants was attributed to heightened activity of top soil microbes (they are getting better food now) resulting in emission of useful substance to plants.

10. If you do not have garden they can use this green slurry for flower pot plants.

11. Even If you do not have any flower pots you can dispose the same to any soil. Soil easily and immediately absorbs this green slurry and there is no smell or visible waste left.

12. At times you will have to chop your hard vegetable cuttings in to small pieces for smooth crushing in mixer. There are wastes which have different purpose like coconut shells. These shells are dry and very rich in good wood which we can use for bon-fires or our barbecue. Room dust is very rich soil and can find place again back to flower pots or garden instead of trash.

I always wondered when we spend so much time and energy in sourcing things but we do not blink twice before dumping their leftovers. I think that there has to be different return journey for each and every item used. If green waste is removed from your daily trash then rest of trash is dry and mostly recyclable i.e. plastic bottles (coke bottles, shampoo bottles, water bottle), glass bottles (medicine, sauces, etc), cardboards (cornflakes, chips/biscuits) and can easily be stored in one basket and passed to rag pickers or kabadiwaala on weekly basis, old clothes can be passed to Goonj (goonj.org) and they will push it again on correct path of recycling or reuse. I think and I am sure if you follow this practice you are certainly going to be addicted to this because of clean outcome both for nature and your house. You really feel ecstatic when in morning “safai waali mausi” comes and asks for kachra(trash) and you reply proudly saying “Mausi, no
kachra today”.

PS: This concept is also validated by Dr. A D Karve of ARTI fame (http://www.arti-india.org) and he also suggested when green waste is on large scale Food-Pulpers can be used for places like Sabji-mandis, restaurants, fruit and vegetable retails stores, big gardens and big temples to make our city nearly stink & green garbage free without composting.

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