Streets and terrace of homes littered with burnt up firecrackers is a common view after Diwali. Some of it goes into garbage dumps while the rest result in clogging the drain so ‘Communitree’- a Chennai based NGO gave a way out to this problem by initiating the recycling of Diwali waste and reusing it for planting saplings.
Hafiz Khan, the founder of ‘Communitree’ said in an interview to The New Indian Express that, “A waste is a waste only if it is wasted. We cannot go from house to house asking everyone to stop bursting crackers. It is about individual choices. But, what we can do is to ask them to be responsible enough. All you need to do is hand over the cases to us so that we can plant saplings.”
The NGO has collected over 50,000 cases till now. One can either hand over cases and leave them or take the planted saplings with them back home, it is not compulsory to take the plant saplings. These plant saplings are grown in their nursery on the outskirts of Chennai for 6-months and later when these saplings grow up to five feet, they could be planted in different places.
“The cases made up of strong cardboard are considered excellent to grow saplings. The cardboard retains the moisture content when the water is poured, and it is easy to maintain. After the seed germinates, one can directly plant them in the soil” as said by Hafiz in an interview with the New Indian Express. He also added that, “the inside of the cases is mostly clean. Once we get it, we wash it with cow dung water to nullify and neutralize anything left inside” in a reply to a question by the reporter that “what about the gunpowder in the cases?”
The saplings consist of many native varieties including Neem, Beech, Jackfruit, Guava, Aamla, Ashoka, and many others. Last year, they have collected 27,000 cracker cases and this year they aim to collect at least 80,000 cases.
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