Nature is rich in resources needed to support and sustain life. However, the world is increasingly opting for the use of synthetic and toxic materials. This results in rise in environmental pollution and deterioration of human health and immunity.
Cutting of trees, increased and indiscriminate use of synthetics such as plastics, chemicals, petroleum products coupled with poor cleanliness and unhygienic surroundings are some of the vital causes of serious environmental disasters like global warming, increased air and water pollution, land erosion, scarcity of drinking water, extinction of an entire species of some animals and birds. The Project wing of AADM concentrates on helping the environment and the people to recover from the ill-effects of various hazards such as plastic, cutting of trees, pollution, contamination and much more.
Various projects are being carried out across Maharashtra with magnitude varying as per the need and resources available. These projects include Vermiculture, eradication of the menace caused by plastics, plantation of trees, awareness, implementation of cleanliness and hygiene and of course “Re-immersion of Lord Ganesha Idols” which is related to the religious outlook of the people.
Indiscriminate cutting of trees leading to deforestation has drastically reduced green coverage of the Earth. The deforestation has resulted into many environmental hazards like Global Warming, Reduced Rainfall, Erosion of Soil, Scarcity of Water due to evaporation, water table in soil going deep etc. It is need of the hour to plant more trees to restore the environmental balance, bring down the global temperature, reduce / minimise soil erosion, provide habitat to animal and birds, reduce carbon dioxide levels and increase oxygen level in atmosphere. In short, restore the balance of eco-system to support and sustain life of plants, animal kingdom and mankind.
Waste Paper Recycling
The main raw material for paper making is wood, which comes from trees. The more we use paper, more trees are cut to feed paper making industries. Indirectly, we are unknowingly contribute to deforestation which has many environmental ill effects. Therefore it is imperative for mankind to reduce / minimise use of paper. Modern technology has, to some extent, helped in reducing a use of paper in printing media like newspapers, books, magazines, records, however commercial use in industry still continues. it is therefore necessary to recycle the paper wherever possible.
- Eco-Friendly Ganesh:
In the state of Maharashtra, the God Ganesh festival is very popular and celebrated on large scale. During this festival many families bring the idol of God Ganesh of varying sizes made by use of plaster of paris and painted with synthetic color. At the end of the festivities, these idols are immersed into the water bodies like wells, ponds, rivers, seas, creeks etc. The water gets contaminated due to hazardous synthetic paints and plaster of paris posing great danger to marine life as well as source of drinking water.
Realising this environmental hazard, Aniruddha’s Academy of Disaster Management has undertaken a project of making these idols from waste paper and use of colors made from herbs and plants which are safe. Such idols when immersed in water, dissolve very quickly and the colors made from plants and herbs do not pause any danger to the marine life. Thus, these idols are Eco-Friendly and the people have welcomed the use of Eco-Friendly God Ganesh idols during the festivals. The project started by the Academy in a very modest way as tremendous response from people and now many other idol making workshops have adopted this Eco-Friendly Ganesh from waste paper.
- Educational Toys:
The another use waste paper is to make educational toys and other small toys which can be easily made by molding paper pulp into various toys like numbers, alphabets, animals, birds etc. and then painting them with environment friendly colors. The children playing with such toys will not be exposed to any harmful effects like in factory made toys using toxic colors. Such toys can be manufactured as an home industry since it doesn’t require big machinery and space, but few molds and less space. This can generate employment opportunities to semi-skilled and unskilled segment of the society.
- Making Paper Bags:
Shopping has become an integral part of our daily life routine and the goods purchased are carried home either in plastic bag or paper boxes. The plastic are harmful to environment since they are non-biodegradable. With increased awareness among the people and government regulations againsts the use of plastic bags many shopkeepers and malls have switched over to paper bags. Such paper bags can be manufactured from the recycled paper.
- Making Decorative Articles:
The waste paper can also be recycled and used for making decorative articles which are hitherto being made in plaster of paris, plastics or China clay. Here to one doesn’t required any big investment in terms of machinery, space and skilled manpower. Thus, it can help to provide employment to unskilled segment of the society and reduce use of paper which ultimately results in less feeling of trees.
Plastic is blessing to mankind and also curse since its is non-biodegradable. It is blessings because it has penetrated in our life from daily household items to industrial products and appliances, medicine industry and medical appliances, food and drug industry, technology. There is no field where plastic is not used in some or the other form. It has made life much easier because of its qualities like water resistance, chemical resistance, light weight, durability, non corrosiveness etc. etc.
It is curse to mankind because used plastic products are not biodegradable and very few types of plastic are recyclable. The large amount of used plastic is not recycled and finds its way into garbage which pauses great hazard to environment. Aniruddha’s Academy of Disaster Management has initiated a project wherein used plastics carry bags are used to make doormat, rope. Similarly, plastic bottles were used to make bouy, life jacket, raft by tying together all the empty plastic bottles and covering the same by nylon net. This items can serve in emergency in case of flood situation or in rescue.
Small Dams (Bandhara)
Small dams are essentially built across path of a small streams created during the rainy season to retain water. Such dams are very useful in areas where big water bodies like big lakes, rivers don’t exist. These are low cost projects built by using stones, bricks, mud, sand filled bags, and tree branches and can be built with the help of local inhabitants. Such dams store water that can be used for farming, drinking and daily use during non raining days. It also helps to increase the water table of surrounding area, supports vegetation.
Vermiculture is a science of rearing or cultivating earthworms and using them as natural bioreactors in waste management.
The earthworms feed on the biodegradable waste and the excreta of the earthworms is a finely granular vermicompost rich in minerals and microbes which are beneficial to plants and free of disease germs. The vermicompost is a natural fertilizer complete in itself hence also known as BLACK GOLD . Vermiwash is the by-product obtained in the process is also a natural liquid fertilizer.
The vermicompost produced through vermiculture can be used for tree plantation drive and to produce high grade plantations.
Hence vermiculture technology can help combat two serious disastrous issues:
1. Urban and Rural Solid waste Management (Garbage disposal)
a. Pollution of natural resources leading to destruction of respective eco-system.
b. Over-flowing dumping grounds.
c. Importance of Cleanliness in view of Biological warfare.
2. Soil deterioration by the way of ill-effects of natural and man-made disasters and use of chemical
fertilizers and pesticides causing serious consequences:
a. Destruction of the significant soil ecosystem which is directly responsible for the fertility of soil viz., the earthworms and the whole microbial world leading the world into food crisis, drought and desertification.
b. Decline in farm productivity qualitatively and quantitatively and hence a biggest disaster for our farmers.
c. Pollution through food chain which is highly destructive for Plants, Animals and Humankind.
Aniruddha’s Academy of Disaster Management has developed simple and cheap method for starting vermiculture at household level wherein biodegradable waste generated in the kitchen can easily be converted into vermicomposed. This method involves the use of small plastic bucket or drum or bins for this purpose. The devotees of Sadguru Shree Aniruddha Bapu have produced 103 tons of vermicompost from their household pits since 2004 to 2015. Thus it has helped converting large amount of biodegradable waste into useful manure.
Most of the mega cities in the world are facing problem of dumping city waste due to paucity of space available. If the residents co-operate by starting vermiculture at household level, it will to large extent reduce burden on local authorities to cart away garbage.