This zoologist turns dying temple flowers into a life-promoting substance. Meet OP Agrwal, a professor at Gwalior’s Jiwaji University, who has started a project that converts temple waste into organic manure.
Agrwal collects temple waste, mostly drying and decaying flowers, garlands, and leaves offered at temples in the city and convert them into bio-fertiliser at the vermicompost or biodegradable waste treatment unit that he has built in the premises of the university’s environmental science department.
Agrwal, who is the director of the department, said that after experimenting with the temple waste for over a year with three species of earthworms, he finally selected an earthworm species called Eudrilus eugeniae that gave the best results.
The earthworm, a native to tropical West Africa is now well adapted to Indian conditions, he said. “
After the successful results, we formally inaugurated the eco-friendly temple waste vermicmpost unit within the premises of the department on the World Environment Day on June 5,” Agarwal said.
“We have tied up with the Sai Baba temple at Phool Bagh that earlier used send dump temple waste in a river at Noorabad, which caused environmental pollution. We have also tied up with the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple near Padav,” Agarwal further said.
“The two temples send 5 to 6 tonnes of temple waste to us every week, which we covert into organic manure. Some of it is used in the campus itself and a part of it is sold to nurseries at Rs 500 per quintal,” he said.
The project has helped in generating awareness on decreasing pollution from temple waste, which generally is dumped in the nearest rivers and water bodies.
Agarwal further said he was guiding one his PhD student, who is doing a research on vermicomposting of temple waste. “We are happy with the results and response of the people.”