It is a no-brainer that planet earth is in pain. From global warming to deforestation to plastic pollution, nature is struggling its way out to retain its biodiversity and resources, lest withering away with time. With the increase in dialogues for environment protection, the world seems to be trying its best to save this ailing earth. However, it should be a cumulative effort. Combined forces of several people directed towards this cause can make a huge difference. Though there has been a plethora of depressing news ranging from animals to deforestation to drought, there have been some remarkable stories about innovative solutions to protect the environment. The least they deserve is a shout out and recognition for their generous yet intellectual endeavours in this regard. Let us refer to the list given below.
- Furniture from Rice
Rice husk is the residue that is left behind after the rice grains are separated for further processing. These residues are light and also in large quantities. A group of four IIT Kharagpur students, namely Harshit Garg, Shivendra Gautam, Priyank Sangani and Rajat Maheswari, had this epiphany to use this residue to create something innovative which is environment friendly. They developed a method to turn the light yellow residue(husk) into beautiful and sturdy furniture, leading to a major curb in deforestation. The process includes pouring adhesive and chemicals in the rice husk, converting them into a sheet, which is eventually used to create the body of ball pens, kitchenware and pitch-boards.
- Jackfruits replacing plastic plates.
This aromatic fruit is somewhat an acquired taste. It is adored by some while being hated by the rest. However, most of us are oblivious to the diverse use of jackfruit can be put into. It is an excellent way to reduce plastic, disposable kitchenware. A team from the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) has developed an eco-friendly version of cutlery, which may be eaten or thrown away. They have used the prickly, thick exterior of the humble jackfruit to make plates and other cutlery. Their initial intention was to find a healthy cone option to hold millet ice-cream, as opposed to the regular cones made of atta and cornflour. Jackfruit has proven to be a healthy and economical alternative to ordinary cones. They have even upgraded to make biodegradable plates which are edible as well.
- Solar Model to reduce the electricity bill by 95%
The Delhi Electricity Distribution Company(DISCOM) had conducted a study and found that rooftops can be utilised to install electricity panels, which can substantially reduce your monthly electricity bill. Solar electricity has gained quite a popularity lately and is also arguably the cheapest and most efficient alternative available. However, lack of infrastructure and investment inability act as deterrents to most people from switching to eco-friendly electricity solutions. The plan developed by DISCOM also has BYPL and CEEW on board, and it allows communities to pool their funds and share the expenses and benefits of solar energy. This innovation has also provided for employment avenues to the farmers, who can earn up to 100% profits from paddy straw.
- Temple flower as natural dyes
A social entrepreneur named Praveen Chauhan from Bihar has refined the procurement process of natural dyes. Flowers offered in religious places, tend to wither away with time. Chauhan had this fantastic idea of using them for making natural dyes for khadi clothes. He started a social enterprise named MATR to promote and amplify the Khadi culture, with a view to helping local artists in getting more respect and exposure. The organisation has been relentlessly working towards the upliftment of local artisans and weavers communities and taking the Khadi culture into the global fashion hubs like New York, Paris and Milan. This humble endeavour is not only aiding the revival of indigenous weavers; it is also abstaining tonnes of flowers from going waste.
- Banana leaf food packaging
The banana tree is one of the most versatile ingredients available. From the fruit to the stem, everything can be consumed in some form or the other. However, apart from using a banana leave in the way of a plate, little did we know that banana leaves can be used as a packaging alternative. The idea has been developed by three 16-year olds from Mumbai- named Riyaan Bakhda, Shreya Agarwal and Vanishree Iyer. The health implications of plastic foils that are used to pack food are dreadful. Neither are they cost-efficient. Replacing the foils with banana leaves is both health and environment friendly. The process of transforming a humble banana leaf into a viable packaging option is particularly overwhelming. These young prodigies are tracing back roots to the traditional modes of dining and packaging, which is commendable.
- Fuel from sunlight
Reducing carbon-footprint and switching to cleaner sources of energies have been one of the top priorities of the modern world these days. Fuel is one of the main causes of global warming. An Indian-origin scientist at the University of Exeter named Dr Govinder Singh Pawar is heading a research team to make fuel obtained from photosynthesis or water-splitting. Did you know? The reaction of hydrogen with oxygen in the air leads to forming water, which is environment-friendly residue. Taking inspiration from this, the team has developed a cleaner source of fuel which only has water as a residue. They have done 21 hours of testing and found that the material has excellent stability and is also an inexpensive source of energy.
- Eco-Friendly Menstrual products
Women’s menstrual hygiene products are mostly non-biodegradable. They are one of the top plastic pollutants and cause serious environmental damage. Indian homegrown brands are making it a point to develop eco-friendly menstrual hygiene products which are free from chemical. Jaioni’s cloth pads “ is one such example. They make reusable cotton pads using compostable material, which is bio-degradable.
- Zero Energy House
An initiative by a group of 70 IIT Bombay students has been undertaken to build a fully functional house that is 100% energy efficient and requires net-zero electricity and even saves energy for the future. It is a 2000 sq. feet solar-powered villa with three well-furnished rooms, with a kitchen and air conditioner—all the appliances like oven, cooker etc. in the villa driven by solar energy.
- Water vending machine in exchange for plastic
Two IIT Bombay alumni have developed ‘ water for plastic ‘ vending machine so as to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the landfills. This innovation has been predicted towards mitigating the garbage problem of most cities in India. The machine uses plastic to give clean drinking water. How cool is that?
Nature is God’s greatest gift to mankind. Humans have exploited their resources to incorrigible extents. It is time we woke up from our slumber and took steps to restore the biodiversity and environment of mother earth so that our future generations can have a better life.