All The Way From Nicobar, Kerala Researchers Root for ‘Giant Leaf’ to Beat Plastic

Scientifically known as Macaranga nicobarica, the species is endemic to Andaman and Nicobar islands, and its leaves are unusually!

In its crusade against plastic, Kerala has been foraying into every possible route and seeking solutions to help its citizens break free from their dependency on plastic.

From government bodies switching to metal food containers to restaurants being directed to offer free drinking water to reduce the sale of single-use plastic bottles, district administrations across Kerala are adopting innovative measures.

The latest suggestion concerns online food delivery services—Thiruvananthapuram’s district administration has requested them to switch to green packaging alternatives like plantain leaves.

What makes innovation central while looking for answers in such situations is that while the resources have always been present, it takes the vision of a few to realise their potential and work out feasible solutions.

And rightfully enough, the ‘giant leaf’ plant is being hailed by researchers in Kerala as the next best alternative to plastic packaging.

Giant Leaf or Macaranga nicobarica. Source: Mathrubhumi.

In fact, a specimen is currently being nurtured at the Vellanikkara campus of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) in Thrissur.

“The plant was brought here as an alternative to the use of plastic in Kerala. [It] is also suitable for the climate of the state,” said K Joseph John, head of NBPGR (Thrissur), to Mathrubhumi.

Scientifically known as Macaranga nicobarica, the species is endemic to Andaman and Nicobar islands, and as its name suggests, its leaves have an unusually large dimension—65×60 cm!

You may also like: Going Green: Kerala Moots Banana Leaves As Plastic-Free Food Wrappings

Following several visits to the islands to understand the potential of the plant, researchers decided to bring the giant leaf to Kerala two years ago.

Interestingly, the plant is strikingly similar to Macaranga peltata, a woody plant species that is locally known as Vattayila and is found in abundance across Kerala. However, the leaves of former are much larger in comparison.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Like this story? Or have something to share?
Write to us:
Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

We at The Better India want to showcase everything that is working in this country. By using the power of constructive journalism, we want to change India – one story at a time. If you read us, like us and want this positive movement to grow, then do consider supporting us via the following buttons.

Please read these FAQs before contributing.

Let us know how you felt

  • love
  • like
  • inspired
  • support
  • appreciate
Sign in to get free benefits
  • Get positive stories daily on email
  • Join our community of positive ambassadors
  • Become a part of the positive movement