THOOTHUKUDI: When the world’s leading fashion brands churn out masks, and luxury perfume firms mass-produce sanitiser to fight COVID-19, a humble couple, whose life depends on palmyra palms, throws their weight behind the cause to intensify the fight. So, what do they do exactly? They make masks from palmyra palm leaves. Yes, you read it right.
Theirs are certainly not lab-approved, but it’s functional and comes cheap. It just does a job: Covering the face. M Gunasekaran-Murugalakshmi couple of K Subramaniapuram near Kulathur here makes a living by depending on palmyra palm trees. Gunasekaran is a palm climber, and his family members, including his four children, involve in making Karupatti (palm jaggery). Owing to the 21-day curfew, the couple could not sell their produce.
The couple had no intent to make masks from palm leaves. When Murugalakhsmi found it difficult to buy mask, she made herself one from palm leaves. “It was just to protect me from the virus; but it attracted many and we decided to make use of it since we are out of our usual business,” Murugalakshmi told TNIE.
“Though it is a makeshift one, it fits akin to the ones made of non-woven and cotton. Since it is eco-friendly and comes at Rs 10 per piece, we get orders for at least 150 masks per day from mask vendors,” she added.
Government Kovilpatti Hospital Naturopathy Doctor Thiru told TNIE that the leaves have anti-bacterial properties and the mask can be used for five to six hours.