Millennium Post

Let a thousand flowers bloom

We all go to temples and other religious places to pay obeisance to the Almighty. While worshipping we offer Him flowers as an ingredient of respect and make the atmosphere pleasing and gracious. There are large number of temples and other religious places in the country today. This has been an age-old tradition in India, still continuing and getting more popular.
One may find that the places of worship in India are usually surrounded by various flower shops. Apart from this, flowers are also used at large to beautify marriage pandals, parties and offered as a token of love to beloved ones and elders. Flowers are also used to greet leaders, achievers and other prominent persons.
The business of floral decoration is booming substantially and it is also being recognised as one of the arts. The business is growing leaps and bounds as event managers have been looking for efficient, well established and stylish flower decorators.   
The point to be noted here is that do we ever think about what happens to these flowers after they’re offered in temples or used in various functions and events? The floral ornaments that enhance the purity, sanctity and beauty of the temples and the much costlier bouquets find their way to the dustbins. They are mercilessly crushed to be thrown into the garbage.  
The used and abandoned flowers are left under trees to stench, degrade and decompose. Or they find a resting place in any nearby river, pond or lakes to rot and pollute the environment. The rotten flowers release bad breathe to make walking, talking and sitting around impossible. The used flowers are part of the organic waste. Now the question arises: Can’t we reprocess the used flowers to get rid of the problem? Burning of leaves and rotten flowers result in harmful emission, which in turn leads to pollution resulting in prosecution.

It is estimated that in Delhi alone a minimum of 20,000 kg flower is thrown in the holy river Yamuna from temples and other places of worship. The quantum may be much higher as large quantity is being dumped elsewhere as well. It may touch around 75,000 kg. Moreover in the festive season, the quantity multiplies manifold, making its disposal difficult. People believe that flowers are not part of the organic waste, if not consumed or reused wisely, becomes waste and creates nuisance for the mother nature. Used flowers can be reprocessed to convert them into various bi-products for further use. Reprocessing used flowers can avoid burning and dumping the same into the holy rivers.
In a city like Delhi, the landfill sites have reached their saturation points. Disposing used flowers in Yamuna is punishable by law, hence, we are left with no other alternative than to go for reprocessing. A reprocessing plant was recently inaugurated in Sai Temple at Lodi Road. I was present to witness its functioning while the machine was being installed to reprocess the used flowers and gift its useful bi-products like hawan samagri, samidha and dhoop to be used again in pujas.
The solution seems feasible as it helps to catch the organic waste before it starts degrading and polluting environment. Since flowers that are offered to the deities should not find place in dustbins, the temple authorities decided to install a machine capable of consuming upto 1,000 kg of flower waste at once to reprocess the same and provide fragrant bi-products apart from liquid fertilisers to be used in the pots and kitchen gardens.

The green philosophy of zero burning, zero landfill and zero river pollution from organic waste is best suitable to mega cities like Delhi. The solution developed by ORM green is designed to provide a sustainable alternative to managing waste. The cost of installing and maintaining the machine is at least half the cost of managing the waste in traditional ways.
The temple machine is the first in the series of such solutions  and Sai Temple has become the first green and clean temple in the capital city and entire NCR to provide a deserving treatment to the flowers.

In the past the three Rs used to signify the importance of reading, writing and arithmetic. They have now been replaced with recycle, reprocess and reuse.

The process of reprocessing the used flowers goes a long way in putting an end to the practice of polluting landfills, dumping rivers and dirtying neighbourhood. The new green revolution in the form of reprocessing flowers must be emulated by the other temples as well.
The author is a communication consultant.
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