RANCHI: In a first-of-its-kind initiative, sarees will be made using the fiber extracted from water hyacinth in the same way they are extracted from jute. Water hyacinth contains fiber, which can be converted into yarn for making sarees.
The initiative is the brainchild of Gaurav Anand, an environmental engineering graduate currently working with the Tata Steel Utilities and Infrastructure Services in Jamshedpur.
According to Anand, the initiative will also empower women living near the river banks through employment opportunities. "It's a simple process as women will take out water hyacinth from the river, desiccate them, extract the thin fiber out of it and sell it to the agency which will further process it and convert it into fine threads," said Anand.
The agency, after processing it, will hand over the thread to local artisans who will weave them into high-quality sarees, he added. Anand said the initiative would not only generate livelihood opportunities but also keep the rivers clean.
"All trial works have been conducted and talks with various agencies are on final stage. We expect that hyacinth sarees will hit the market within five-seven months," said Anand.
Anand said that a West Bengal-based organisation 'Nature Craft' has agreed to purchase the fibers and convert them into fine threads. "Fine treads will be prepared by mixing cotton or polyester with water hyacinth fibers in certain proportion through the processing plants which we will be setting up at Bandgaon and Howrah," said Kaushik Mandal of Nature Craft.
Anand runs the 'Swacchata Pukare' campaign, which involves cleaning of river banks and sorting out issues related to waterbodies and urban spaces. Focus areas of the campaign are water hyacinth, idol immersion, deforestation on river banks and disposal of domestic and industrial waste in rivers.