In recent times, the detrimental effects of microplastic in the oceans and its adverse effects on marine life have come to light. Plastics are neither biodegradable nor a healthy element for soil and contribute to massive environmental degradation. But, the potentially unfavourable consequences of plastics in the agricultural landscape have not been brought into consideration by many.
A few concerned residents across the globe have started advocating for tree plantation. However, these initiatives also might not be successful as the people end up buying plastic bags of small saplings. These plastic bags are, then, dumped off.
The Forest Department of Gujarat, a state in West India, came up with a simple yet ingenious solution to this global problem. It was observed that a large amount of tender coconut water is consumed by people and the empty shells of the coconuts were disposed of after consumption. Sujal Mayatra, the District Collector came up with the idea of planting saplings in coconut shells!
Speaking about the initiative, Mayatra said, “Nurturing the nursery is not our core job, but during our cleanliness drive, there was [an] accumulation of many coconut shells; therefore I proposed the idea to rear the plants. As the coconut shells will be used for saplings, waste management will also be easy.”
The initiative is advantageous for the environment as the use of coconut shells works for waste disposal. Further, the coconut shells are bio-degradable, thus, they add nutrient value to the soil.
The annual festival, Van Mahotsav which means the “festival of trees” was celebrated by Gujarat Forest Department at Verakhadi in Anand district in July 2018. During the Van Mahotsav program, samplings grown in coconut shells were distributed among people.
Kudos to the Gujarat Forest Department on this move to reduce plastics!