There is a cost that nature pays due to our habit of worshipping idols. One thing that is common at all temples if flowers. Dozens of vendors sell various kinds of flowers woven into garlands and lose to people who come to pray. Flowers don’t last for eternity, they soon dry out. What happens to them after that?
They are discarded recklessly which causes ‘flower pollution’. Imagine, that we are actually polluting nature in our attempt to worship God!
One river that has been hit the worst in river Ganga. You won’t believe it but every year 80,00,000 metric tonnes of flower waste is dumped into Ganga river alone! We all know that it is not just flowers that are dumped into the river – an array of pollutants and chemicals make the waste poisonous.
HelpUsGreen is an innovative company that is, in its own way, preventing flower pollution. ‘HelpUsGreen® is preserving River Ganges from becoming a religious sewer by flowercycling® the waste from temples and mosques into patented lifestyle products providing livelihoods to 1200 rural families,’ reads their website.
HelpUsGreen recycles the flowers and turns them into organic fertilisers and incense sticks. And who does that? Self-help groups of women in the rural areas.
‘At HelpUsGreen® we collect floral waste from the temples in Uttar Pradesh, India thus preventing 7600 Kgs waste flowers and 97 Kgs toxic chemicals from getting into the river daily. The waste is handcrafted by rural women Self-help groups into patented organic fertilizer and incense sticks. The project is self-sustaining and brings a hope to revive Ganges,’ the website further states.
Those who work here love Nature and are aiming towards building a chemical-free life. They have also coined a term for what they do – they call it ‘flowercycling’.
So far they have collected over three and a half lakh kilograms of flowers and recycled them. As a result, they have helped over a hundred women earn a living.
How does flower pollution happen?
First, the flowers are collected in a heap and discarded at a local water body. It is a ritual of ‘jalprabah’ – of immersing the flowers in the water. But this habit of ours increases the toxicity in the river water, which in turn is the source of water for our daily needs. Then, these flowers start rotting and mix with the poisonous chemicals in the water. HelpUsGreen states, ‘The arsenic that gets into the river doesn’t flow down. Iron and oxygen in the water form ferrosoferric oxide, which in turn bonds with arsenic.’ HelpUsGreen prevents this from happening.
They are soon going to add soap bars, loofahs and organic styrofoam to their range of products.
This initiative that is ‘powered by nature’, is saving our rivers one step at a time and helping us actually worship a power where we came from.