How this organisation is reducing water pollution through sustainable waste management

Project Palaash aims to utilise floral waste, which amounts to one-third of total solid waste, to create organic dyes which are purely non-synthetic.

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

Humans have wrestled with inferior water quality for centuries. Water, the harbinger of life on the planet, is a resource that is rapidly depleting ever since it became susceptible to the ghastly claws of pollution. For years, rivers and streams have borne the brunt of urbanisation.

To top it all off, around 70 percent of water remains contaminated and unfit for drinking. While the basic issue of water pollution has been addressed from each household as well as by the policy-makers in the respective governments, we are yet to pay heed to a major water pollutant - ‘floral waste’.

According to reports, eight million tonnes of floral waste in India is discarded every year, amounting to one-third of the total solid waste.

These worn-out flowers contaminate the water quality and the residue of pesticides used on these flowers percolate into the waters, thereby, hampering the marine life.

While this accounts for a significant portion of river pollutants, another compelling factor contributing to the hazard on the quality of water is the impurity caused by various dyeing and textile industries.

Another report states, the synthetic dyeing and textile industry is the third-largest consumer of water in the world, expending nearly 2.4 trillion gallons of water a year, and effusing over 70 toxic chemicals into the hydrosphere.

Nearly 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped into the environment. The untreated water discharged into the rivers befouls the water quality as the noxious substances degrade the water quality, depleting the oxygen levels as they decompose.

Determined to tide over these challenges, young minds at Enactus Aryabhatta embarked on a journey towards building a community that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.

Battling a myriad of these environmental issues plaguing our society, the young entrepreneurs of Enactus Aryabhatta initiated a project named Palaash – merging art with an environmental conscience, academic knowledge, and innovative ideas.

Our project brought together the source of floral waste and textiles under a single matrix. Probing through the sources of floral wastage, we analysed that around two million tonnes of floral waste get discarded each year after religious ceremonies.

Project Palaash aims to utilise these flowers and create organic dyes which are purely non-synthetic. These organic dyes are used on fabrics which creates employment opportunities. These entrepreneurs undergo skill development training for dyeing and block printing on fabrics.

The dupattas and scarves manufactured under project Palaash are sold directly to the customers through stalls set up at college fests, cultural fares, and handicraft outlets. This facilitates sustainable fashion.

The aim is to uphold the trend of fashion by taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects by improving all the stages of production and recycling for the sustainable management of resources.

Under Project Palaash, we have successfully collaborated with multiple designers and boutiques who purchase bulks of our organically dyed fabrics and re-sell them to the customers. Our team also provides an additive property of customisation, enabling the customers to get their fabrics dyed as per their modifications.

Project Palaash has potently created employment opportunities while curbing the menace of water and soil pollution. Our model ensures effective and steady waste management as the bio-waste generated from the dyeing process is used to create compost which is reutilised for growing flowers.

The wastewater generated in the process is used to water plants ensuring sustainability.

With an initial count of 10 community members, we aim to expand our beneficiaries in this module. Through the advancement of this project, we look forward to upscaling our production and maximising the impact by processing more floral waste.

Furthermore, we aim to provide a mature financial understanding by enabling the community members to handle their income and resources.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)