No one thinks that something as charming and enticing as flowers can be sources of toxicity. Flowers, which are used at places of worship, are often disposed of into water bodies such as rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. Every year, about 80, 00,000 tons of such wasted flowers are discarded into rivers and needs Flower Waste Management. The practice is particularly rampant in India. There is a need to understand that a large quantity of additives such as fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides were used to grow those flowers.

Discarded Flowers Are A Major Source Of Water Pollution

Those toxic substances then regularly get mixed with the water present in water bodies and pollute them. This leads to a phenomenon called flower pollution. Innovators Ankit Agrawal, together with Karan Rastogi, has taken the step to turn, at the minimum, one part of these flower wastes into eco-friendly and environment-friendly products to help Flower Waste Management. The two innovators founded “Help Us Green,” an NGO in the year 2015. The social enterprise is based in the city of Kanpur. The innovators have a mission to clean and save the river Ganges. River Ganga is the world’s second most polluted river and eventually affects around 400 million people. The pollution of the river is even linked to diseases such as dysentery, hepatitis, cholera and diarrhea. The ailments continue to be a leading cause of child mortality in India.

Manures Can be Made Through Decomposed Flowers

This is a welcome change. Such discarded flowers can now be collected and utilized to make bio fertilizers as well as other lifestyle products. The waste flowers can be composted using organisms such as earthworms. This practice is any day a safer alternative to chemical fertilizers. Such wasted flowers can also be put to another novel use, that is, they can be utilized to make incense sticks as well as soaps. Moreover, flower waste can be handcrafted by women, particularly those in the rural countryside. This has the potential to create employment opportunities for women living in the villages. The wonderfully innovative concept can be a great step to converting flower waste to value added products. Join with me in congratulating Ankit Agrawal and Karan Rastogi for turning at least a part of the flower wastes into amazing and environment-friendly products. Flower Waste Management needs to be seriously looked into.

The NGO “Help Us Green” has flower cycled 500 kg of waste daily and 135,000 kg since the operations began. Currently, they gather flowers from about 13 temples and 3 mosques. Help Us Green, also called, Kanpur Flowercycling Private Limited, is generating livelihoods for underprivileged women and empowering them from 85 families in Kanpur.

Putting Temple Floral Waste To Use
Photo credit: VoxSpace

About Syeda Ambia Zahan

Greenubuntu Evangelist Syeda Ambia Zahan is a Guwahati-based journalist who has been covering environment, politics, technology, human interest stories and defence for the past five years. She is a State Editor at and an erstwhile Journalist with Aaj Tak. She can be reached at twitter @syedaambia