Flower power

By TheHindu on 19 May 2017

This temple is tucked away in a lane off Thambu Chetty Street in Parrys. Yet, besides devotees of the deity there, the temple is known to the larger world by the aroma of a sterling initiative by its management.

The flower garlands offered to the deity are collected and composted in two aagas (big compost bins).

The Daily Dump aagas, kept in front of the chief priest’s house, located opposite the temple, were bought over a month ago by members of the Siva Charyar Trust, a non-profit organisation.

The temple generates around 15 kilos of waste every day. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, double the amount of waste is generated. Flowers, white pumpkins, beetle leaves, lemons and other fruits are processed in the compost bins.

The composting drums for which the Trust spent ₹70,000 can hold around 1000 kilos of waste. The conversion process takes anywhere between 45 and 60 days.

“We have restricted ourselves to withered flowers and other offerings. Our main aim is to stop waste from going into the bins on the roadside,” said Shiva Sri T.S. Kalidas Sivacharyar, chief priest of the Kalikambal temple.

Recently, one of the aagas got filled to the brim with flower waste.

“Once the compost is ready, we will giving it away to devotees and neighbours, free of cost,” said Subbiah Pillai, manager of the Trust. Vimal gurukkal has been coordinating the initiative.

The initiative to prevent waste from reaching the landfills is not new to the temple. For the last one year, the Trust was sending the temple waste for composting to Marakanam, a village near Puducherry.

“We were sending the waste to Marakanam once a week, but that proved to be a costly process and we never got the manure or were directly involved. Sudhakar of Forte Solutions encouraged us to invest in compost bins,” said Pillai.

Currently, the Trust has hired a staff to segregate the biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste.

The temple, which has rainwater harvesting pits, is one of the oldest in the neighbourhood.

“We hope to inspire devotees coming to the temple as well as those working in the area to practise responsible waste management,” said the chief priest.