Compost from nirmalya
The flowers people offer in the temple could help a thousand others bloom. More than six months after the temple trust was first approached by a non-governmental organisation, which offered to turn their waste into a resource, Siddhivinayak temple'sattempts at converting nirmalya?offerings of marigold, hibiscus, betel nut flower and durva (blades of grass) made to the deity?into compost are a roaring success. With 30,000-40,000 devotees visiting the temple in Prabhadevi, Mumbai every day, the numbers swell to over 2,00,000 on Tuesdays?more than 1,000 kg of compost is ready at the end of every month. And the popularity of this compost from ?holy flowers? is evident from the fact that by afternoon, the 1-kg packets priced at Rs 20 disappear from the shelves, which are sold at the temple itself. ?Earlier, there used to be at least a truck-full of nirmalya left at the end of the day,? explained Sanjay Bhagwat, chief executive officer of the Trust. ?We had no option but to let the municipal trucks take it to dumping grounds,? Bhagwat adds. The initiative started in May 2005 after members of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat approached the Trust. ?They were a little hesitant at first because of the space constraints and also because religious sentiments were involved,? said Pratibha Belwalkar, a member of the Panchayat. ?Once we explained how a small machine could do the job cleanly, they agreed and things have gone smoothly.? The nirmalya is mixed with a culture of bacteria. Sawdust is added to reduce the moisture from the flowers. The bio-culture in this mixture reacts with oxygen over 7-8 days. Compost is obtained after drying this in the sun for 1-2 days.