What would your reaction be if we told you that around 800 kg of flowers are thrown into the Ganga every year? This is the figure of just one river in India, which is being polluted by flowers and other offerings made at places of worship.
Sandesh Gupta, Chief Municipal Officer (CMO) of Neemuch, a district that is 425 km north-west of Bhopal, is the man of the moment and here’s why we say that. On seeing tonnes of flowers and coconuts offered to deities in more than 50 temples in the city, rampantly polluting the water bodies and adding to filth, he decided to act upon it.
Sandesh says that people offer flowers and coconuts at the big and small temples of the city every morning and by the end of the day, one can see these dumped around the premises.
So, he took it upon himself to get all of this waste collected and sent to his house. There, Sandesh has dug two big pits with the help of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED). He mixes dry neem leaves into this mix, and it becomes a fertiliser, as reported in Hindustan Times.
Sandesh draws inspiration from the Swachh Bharat campaign and informs HT that the sale of this fertiliser also adds to the revenue of the municipal corporation.
Amit Sharma, a social activist in Neemuch, says that the cleanliness drive has become quite popular in the district and hopes that this would be known as ‘Neemuch model’ in and replicated in other parts of the state, and possibly, the country.
Incidentally in 2012, Ankit Agrawal and Karan Rastogi, two friends from Kanpur, also came up with an eco-friendly business venture in an attempt to use the discarded flowers. After conducting some research and experiments, they founded Helpusgreen in May 2015, with the aim of utilising the flowers that had been disposed of, and turning them into bio-fertilisers and lifestyle products.