| Kumari Ghata Ambedkar collects waste flowers at her Punaichak residence. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Stale flowers are as useful as fresh ones for a Patna college student who has embarked on a green mission with used blossoms.
Kumari Ghata Ambedkar, 19, collects used flowers from Mahavir Mandir near Patna Junction and uses it to make compost.
“Flowers are used for worship in temples. Once used, they hardly serve any purpose. But for me, stale flowers are as useful as fresh ones. I can use them to make compost,” said the BSc Part III student of environment science and water management at AN College.
Explaining her project, which she began in July, Ambedkar said: “Flowers have bacteria, which can be used to increase nitrogen and potassium content in the soil. I am making compost with flower, soil, cow dung and dry leaves.”
She expects the project to be complete by October-end. Asked what motivated her to take up the project, she said flowers used in temples across the city are dumped in the Ganga, increasing the pollution-level in the river. Ambedkar believes that her project will check the pollution and also help produce organic manure.
She said: “My work will serve two purposes: First, it will help save the Ganga from pollution. Second, stale flowers could be put to some use. My aim is to help the environment.”
Ambedkar added that she visits Mahavir Mandir twice a week. On each visit to the temple, she collects around 8kg flower.
“I visit Mahavir Mandir on Sundays and Wednesdays because on these two days, more flower is available as there is a huge rush of devotees on Saturdays and Tuesdays,” she said.
Using flowers from a temple, however, did not guarantee parental blessing immediately.
“My mother (Rukmani Devi) was sceptical at first,” said Ambedkar. “She did not like to see me working with mud, cow dung and stale flowers. She used to ask me why I was meddling with such stuff. But slowly, I won my mother’s confidence. When she found that I was resolute to continue with the work, she stopped telling me not to do it.”
Rukmani Devi explained her initial cynicism. “Ghata used to go to my mother’s house (at Anishabad) to collect cow dung. I thought: What would the neighbours say? So, I used to get angry with her. Our relatives were also displeased with her project. But her father (Shravan Kumar, a Patna High Court employee) explained to us how useful her work is. Now, we know that her project will help both agriculture and preservation of the ecology.”
Asked what future she has envisioned for her project, Ambedkar said: “I want to go to more temples to collect more flower and conduct my project on a larger scale. I hope people will take inspiration from my project and use stale flower to make compost.”