Phool-proof: Indian group turns Ganga's waste to incense sticks

An Indian man has taken the responsibility of cleaning the holy river Ganga (Ganges) by recycling floral waste. Here's how he does it

Strong team of 100

A team of 100 women have come together to clean India's holy river Ganges, as part of Ankit Agarwal's Phool.co initiative.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Floral waste

First, workers remove floral waste from outside of temples located on banks of the river Ganges. Floral waste is one of mot common forms of pollution in the river Ganges as Indians typically offer flowers at temples as a mark of devotion. Nearly eight million tonnes of those offerings end up in the country's rivers each year - along with sewage and industrial and domestic waste. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Kneading change

Then, workers knead powder made from discarded flowers to prepare incense sticks out of them. The organisation also makes garlands and colours out of these discarded flowers.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Re-using packaging

The organisation also infuses the paper of the incense sticks with basil seeds. "The concept was, once we use these products, please sow the packaging and a Tulsi (basil) plant would grow out of it and the packaging really helped us establish our brand," Agarwal explained.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Generating employment

Phool.co has received investment from the social arm of the Tata business group, and most of the women he has employed used to work as manual scavengers or were jobless.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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