Shantharam Umanath Shenai
This profile was prepared when Shantharam Umanath Shenai was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Shantaram Umanath Shenai's idea has matured from a mere waste disposal program based on the recycling of organic waste into vermi-compost, to a pioneering rejuvenation program, which literally re-creates soil. Quite simply, Shantaram is demonstrating how deep burrowing earthworms are capable of replacing soil in one year that would take 200 years to re-generate naturally. His idea is to use these earthworms to convert all forms of wasted organic matter into usable bio-fertilizer or multi-purpose sanitation products. Not only relieving cities of the threat of epidemics and the high costs of waste management, Shantaram's program will also help re-vitalize fallow and denuded land, supply organic fertilizer to rural areas and insulate village economies from market instabilities. His aim now is to promote this creative alternative to the present systems of urban waste disposal throughout India.