CHENNAI: A day after Diwali, it is common to see the roads littered with burned crackers, boxes and wrapping papers. But, Communitree, a city-based NGO, is taking a step to turn this waste into something useful this year. Their volunteers are collecting the boxes and burned crackers including outer shells of rockets, flower pots and cylindrical bombs — more than six inches in size — and reusing them to plant saplings.
“A waste is a waste only if it is thrown away. We cannot go from house to house asking them to stop bursting crackers. It is one’s choice. But, what we can do is to ask them to be responsible for the waste. All you need to do is hand over the boxes to us, so that we can plant saplings,” said Hafiz Khan, founder, Communitree. They pick up the waste from anywhere in the city.
As of Monday afternoon, the NGO had collected over 500 cases from different apartments across the city. One can either hand over the boxes to them and ask the volunteers to plant trees, or take the planted saplings back home.
“These boxes are made of strong cardboard, which is excellent to grow saplings in. It retains moisture when you pour water and that makes it easy to maintain. After the seed germinates, directly plant it in the soil,” said Hafiz. The seeds take five to 15 days to germinate. The saplings they have are all native varieties including neem, beech, jackfruit, guava, ashoka and amla among others.
When asked if the gunpowder on the case will affect the growth of the plants, Hafiz said, “The inside of the case is mostly clean. Once we get it, we will further wash it with cow dung water to neutralise anything that is left inside. Within minutes, your plant will be ready. It is easy to maintain, manage, transfer and shift.”
If you wish to give away your Diwali trash, contact 9940142349.