I refer to today’s Straits Time article ‘Seng Kang stink lingers‘ featured on the front page of the ‘Home’ section. You may also view the full article here.
Clearly, the compost heap at Punggol Way has not been done or maintained properly, as compost definitely does NOT stink! The bad odour is due to an anaerobic process resulting from excess moisture and nitrogen – food waste in this case.
Also the article stated that the 200-tonne mound consists of “rotting food and woodchips”. Now, if woodchips are the only source of carbon-rich materials in the mound, of course the mound will stink! There is too much nitrogen-rich material in the heap (i.e. rotting food waste) and it has to be balanced with at least an equal portion of carbon-rich materials such as (i.e. browns).
Moreover, woodchips are TERRIBLE in composting! They break down too slowly due to their tough material and structure.
Instead of transporting the “compost” away to be incinerated, thereby spreading bad odour to more areas in Singapore, adding to more incineration and fuel costs, and worsening air pollution (my, my, my…), I humbly propose two quick and simple solutions:
- Mix in more carbon-rich materials (also known as ‘browns‘), such as dried horticulture waste, paper, cardboard etc. This way, excess liquids can be absorbed by carbon-rich materials, aiding in the composting process. For more information, visit 4 essentials for composting, how to get the right compost mix, and how to speed up the compost process.
- For another quick and immediate remedy, cover the mound with hay. Yes, hay! It doesn’t cost much if you know where to get it, especially when hay just consists of dried grass. If Joseph Jenkins can cover his mound of family faeces (or sh*t or poop) at home with hay, resulting in NO odour, a stinking compost mound definitely has no problem with the same thing too. Check out my experience with hay here – it transformed my once stinky compost bin into a pleasant-smelling thing.
In retrospect, it is rather disheartening to read about another composting failure. Composting would be such an incredible breeze and a satisfying experience if people were properly informed and educated in this aspect. If our western counterparts are already doing it everyday – with gladness! – I don’t see why composting could not be embraced in the same way.
I look forward to the day when composting is seen as a solution to recycling waste and replenishing our land with nutrients. In the beginning, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Gen 1:31) Let’s not complicate things and close the carbon loop, shall we?
To create your own compost bin at home, click here.
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Some pictures just for fun 😉