Chennai NGO Uses Diwali Trash To Plant Saplings

Chennai: Streets littered with burnt up firecrackers is a common sight a day after Diwali. Some of it goes into garbage dumps while the rest ends up in drains, clogging them. In a bid to encourage recycling waste, Communitree, a Chennai 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,” Hafiz Khan, founder of ‘Communitree’ was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express (TNIE). The NGO had 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 on 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,” Hafiz told TNIE.

The saplings consist of different native varieties including neem, beech, jackfruit, guava, ashoka and amla etc.

What about the gunpowder in the cases? “The inside of the case is mostly clean. Once we get it, we wash it with cow dung water to nullify and neutralise anything left inside,” Hafiz said.

Last year, they had collected 27,000 cracker cases and this year the aim is at least 80,000, TNIE reported.

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