Water bodies in India fall prey to temple offerings such as flowers, coconuts, idols, etc. Devotees make tonnes of offerings at temples across the country every year, which are eventually dumped in rivers, water bodies or are strewn around the premises.
Many social programmes have been held in the past to stop this growing problem, where volunteers and NGOs have educated pilgrims and devotees not to pollute rivers. The turnaround has been very few.
This is when Sandesh Gupta decided to take things in his hands who thought PM Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was an opportune time to execute it.
Gupta is the chief municipal officer (CMO) in Neemuch city in Madhya Pradesh and is now making the most of temple offerings and waste in the city.
He gets offerings such as flowers, coconuts, dry waste, etc. collected from temples. Then the municipal corporation’s vehicles dump these in two large pits dug at the premises of Gupta’s official bungalow in a bid to make organic fertiliser.
Inspired by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Gupta is leading by example and is making organic fertiliser in his yard.
The pits were dug with the help of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED). He adds dry neem leaves in the pits to make fertilizer, which is then being sold at a premium, thereby getting revenue for the municipal corporation too.
Gupta uses nearly one quintal of flowers and coconut fibre to make the fertiliser.
Now, he is trying to get the flowers and coconut fibre from surrounding towns and villages.
Neemuch produces around 60 tonnes of dry and wet garbage. Gupta advises the garbage should be disposed at the source itself.
“For instance, the vegetable mandi produces around 10 quintals of garbage and now I have persuaded the 400 odd traders to put their waste in a pit and thus organic fertilizer is being produced over there. This can be replicated everywhere in localities,” Gupta told HT.
Gupta’s efforts have been lauded by his department and people of Neemuch. It is time that we see such models replicating in rest of India too.