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Chennai-based NGO Communitree uses Deepavali trash to treasure trove of saplings

But, where does all the trash go? Some of it end up clogging drains, some gets burnt, while others reach the dumpyard, but very little gets recycled.

Published: 16th November 2020 05:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2020 05:28 AM   |  A+A-

Saplings, Plantation

For representational purposes

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A street full of crackers debris, wrappers of sweet, boxes and rocket cases. This is the usual sight on the day of Deepavali. But, where does all the trash go? Some of it end up clogging drains, some gets burnt, while others reach the dumpyard, but very little gets recycled.

In a bid to encourage recycling waste, Communitree, a city-based NGO is collecting cases of crackers including outer shells of rockets, big flower pots and big cylindrical bombs -- more than five to six inches in size -- and reusing them to plant saplings.

"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," said Hafiz Khan, founder, Communitree. The NGO has collected over 50,000 cases, as of Sunday afternoon.

One can either hand over the cases and leave or take the planted saplings back home. The plants are grown in their nursery in the outskirts of Chennai for six months and later planted in different places. These saplings can grow up to five feet.

"These cases are made of strong cardboard, which is excellent to grow saplings. It retains the moisture content when you pour water and that makes it easy to maintain. All you need to do after the seed germinates is to directly plant it in the soil," said Hafiz.

The saplings consist of different native varieties including neem, beech, jackfruit, guava, ashoka and amla, among others. When asked if gunpowder on the case will have an affect, Hafiz said, "The inside of the case is mostly clean. Once we get it, we wash it with cowdung water to nullify and neutralise anything left inside." Last year, they had collected 27,000 cracker cases and this year the aim is at least 80,000.

Initiatives that matter

In a bid to encourage recycling waste, a city-based NGO is collecting cases of crackers including outer shells of rockets, flower pots and bombs and reusing them to plant saplings



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