90 metric tonnes of floral waste cleared in one day from Dadar
Flower sellers are being forced to dump excess supply due to a significant decrease in demand for fresh flowers; buyers opting for artificial flowers instead
Strap: As flower sellers forced to drop prices and dump excess supply, say buyers prefer fake flowers
MUMBAI: In the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) collected around 90 metric tonnes of unused flowers and floral waste from Dadar’s flower market. Curiously, in the middle of the festive season, the market known for both wholesale and retail supply, saw such a huge quantity of produce dumped by the sellers, as there has been a dip in the demand of fresh flowers this year.
The Phool Bazaar Vyapari Sangh has noted a nearly 50% fall in demand of fresh flowers and decorative leaves this year. Ganesh Datta Dubey, member of the sangh, put it down to customers’ preference of artificial flowers and toran to fresh ones. “The farmers, traders and sellers suffer the most because of this,” he said.
Devidas Pawar, one of the vendors in the Dadar’s flower market gets 70-80 boxes of flowers in the festive season every day, but on Wednesday he could sell only 30-40, having no choice but to discard the remaining supply. Each box contains 10-12 kgs of flowers. “We have an arrangement with the farmers – we have to buy everything we can get from them. But as we could sell only half the supply, we were forced to dump the rest.” Another seller from the market, Vinod Pandey, who sells Mogra, threw away 30-35 kg of unsold produce on Wednesday. The flowers are sold for around ₹60 per kg. Agreeing with Dubey, he underlined people’s preference for fake flowers to “enhance their décor, which leads to a wastage of fresh flowers”.
Rakesh, who sells Shevanti flowers, said he had to reduce the rate from ₹70 per kg to ₹50 per kg, due to excess stock. Rajesh Sheth another seller, said, of the 80 to 100 boxes he received, he was barely able to sell 50 on Wednesday.
Erratic rainfall exacerbated the slump this year. As flower seller Mahadev Kamte said, “People do not like to buy soggy flowers. I had to reduce the price by ₹20 per kg. What is usually sold for ₹80 had to go for ₹60.” Dubey added that once the flowers get wet their lifespan reduces from two to three days to one day, which adds to their burden of discarding the waste.
To deal with this mountain of excess, BMC has posted a garbage van at the flower market at all times. However, due to the sheer volume of the waste, on Wednesday, the van had to make several trips from the market to the dump yard at Kanjurmarg.
On Wednesday, small piles of garbage dotted every few meters outside Dadar station. When mixed with rain water they turned into sludge, rendering the space slippery and raising a stink.
A similar scenario prevailed under the bridge outside the station, with a heap of flower waste occupying a third of the space. Seated in front of a smelly pile, flower seller Gautam found it “suffocating to be here” but he had to endure it. While he said BMC collects the waste from here thrice every day, other sellers contradicted him, saying the BMC’s van does not show up on some days. When the van cannot load up all the dumped flowers, sellers leave them on the road.
“Farmers sell their supply directly to the sellers. It is an unorganised sector, so no one knows who will bring how much produce. This time, they preferred to dump unsold stock here instead of taking it back. We have been cleaning the area every few hours. This is a huge loss to the farmers as well,” said an official from BMC’s G North ward.