India is a land of culture and ever-flowing traditions, which makes it one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Here every devotion is incomplete without flowers. ‘Pushp-arpan’ offering flowers, is an ancient and most common expression of faith, prevalent across India. Flowers are considered holy entities and therefore offered by the pilgrims at the temple.
We also go to temples or mosques to offer flowers and it’s not only us, more than half a million people go to temples daily and offer flowers, but we rarely care about what happens to the offering we make. Most often, the piles of flowers along with polyethylene packets, sachets, and other plastic items, are dumped at dumping grounds or conveniently pushed into the nearest water body.
Every year, eight million tonnes of flowers are dumped in the river and the damage also includes the toxic pesticides and insecticides used to grow them.
Maybe culturally it was not looked at as waste and was okay to be immersed into water bodies. But today’s scale and toxic chemicals used makes it considerably hazardous for the water ecosystem. The philosophy of reincarnation has traveled through mythologies and dominates the Indian value system.
However, the only solution to this hazardous problem was to recycle and reuse the floral waste.
We all that floral waste have a tremendous & unexploited potential of being converted into wealth by using simple and inexpensive measures. Therefore, many companies joined hands and came forward to free the holy rivers from this toxic waste.
The entire idea is to put them to good use as a non-toxic product at the same time enabling local women with better livelihood opportunities. This eco-friendly initiative is not only marking a step towards environment conservation but also promoting social inclusion by engaging women of marginalized communities.
These initiatives have enabled women who were previously engaged in bidi-making or other manual labor, to work with dignity in non-hazardous environments. It is also a means to empower them, as it allows saving enough time and resources to focus on their child’s education and other responsibilities. Temple floral waste previously polluting water is circled back into the economy.
The good qualities of fragment sticks made from these floral waste are:
- Less smoke and not irritating to eyes
- Ash color is brown instead of grey and the ash produced is very very little.
- natural fragrance which is mild and improves the mood.
Major benefited regions included from this initiative are Maihar, Shekhawati, and Jammu.