Temples are revered as abode of gods. Most worshippers visit the shrine with floral offerings. In return, the priest of the temple customarily gives back a bud or garland as a sacrament (prasad) from the floral offerings deposited on the deity. Sadly, the same flowers, subsumed by our sentiments, turn into large decaying heaps towards the end of the day. This flower waste, also called temple waste in common parlance, is a kind of green waste which constitutes nearly 60% of a city’s total refuse.
Can Swachh India dream really be realized without effective redressal of the temple waste which forms nearly 25% of the urban green waste? The answer can be nothing else but no. Let’s take a look at how we are dealing with the flower waste in the current scenario? Generally, the floor-keepers of temples throw away this waste at some place near the shrine. The municipal trucks remove them on a routine basis and dump them at some distant landfill sites.
This archaic way to dispose of the waste has many questionable deficiencies. The first is the cost of transportation and pollution caused by the garbage disposal vehicles. The second is the pollution created at the surrounding areas of the landfill sites. The third is the toxic seepage into the ground water. The fourth is the harmful methane gas produced during decomposition over a period of time. This compels us to think if this transporting-and- dumping method of garbage disposal is sustainable. Certainly not. A technically advanced and sensible way of waste disposal is the need of the hour.
Green Waste Reprocessor is a wonderful innovation. It is a machine that occupies about 100 sq.ft. space. Installed near the source of waste generation, it can reprocess the entire flower waste generated at one location on the same day. The machine runs on electricity and doesn’t create any pollution of its own. It makes the transportation of the flower waste redundant. And leaves no trace of the waste after reprocessing.
So, where does the volume of the waste go? Actually, much of the mass of flower is water which is evaporated during the processing. The dried solid is recycled into a by-product which is a very suitable ingredient to be used in Havan Samagri.
Known as GWR, this machine holds immense promise. If a nominal investment is made by the management of all the big shrines to reprocess the floral waste within their own premises, it would make a big positive impact towards the national Swachhta drive. Holy temples of worship must take a lead to demonstrate that the nation is also a temple which must be kept clean.