Next to the Jhandewalan metro station stands the iconic Hanuman statue, which always finds a place when it comes talking about Delhi’s urban landscape. But a one kilometre walk from the structure will take you to Jhandewalan mandir, dedicated to the goddess Aadi Shakti. The temple which is said to have been built during Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign attracts thousands of visitors every day. Due to the sheer volume of daily vistors, the temple generates floral waste weighing hundreds of kilograms. But unlike most of the temples in Delhi, here, a novel waste management technique is practiced.
Last year, the temple authorities installed a compost machine that converts floral offerings into manure. Flowers are first collected and put into a shredder to convert them into smaller pieces. The pieces are then put into the compost machine and are processed for 15 days after which it turns into manure. The machine with the capacity of 100 kg produces around 30 kg of compost every day. The temple also uses fruit and vegetable waste generated from the community meals for this purpose. The remaining flowers are sent to a gaushala in trucks where it is mixed with cow dung to make manure.
“We have successfully managed to produce tonnes of manure which we distribute free of cost to schools, cremation grounds and other such places.” Ravindra Goyal, Trustee told InUth.
The machine was gifted to the temple under a social security scheme by a private organisation. But the operating cost, which includes electricity charges as well as paying for a full-time technician, is borne by the temple.
In India, due to certain religious beliefs, people throw temple offerings into the water which contaminates our rivers which are already polluted. But this initiative aims to address the same problem “The issue is that such practices are a part of our culture and age-old tradition. It is difficult to make people understand. But what is more important is to suggest them an appropriate alternative for disposing of floral waste,” Goyal said.
The authorities are now planning to amplify the initiative. “We are not able to process all the flowers that are offered at the temple. We are looking for a bigger machine which can process 200-300 kg. Or else, we will buy another machine of the same capacity.” he said.
But Goyal, however, feels that only public awareness can address the issue of environmental pollution. “It is difficult but not impossible. Because people now are become aware We should always keep trying so that people to do away with such habits,” he said.