Text by Rajkanya Mahapatra:
Varanasi – one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, also considered a holy city for both Hindus and Buddhists, is where I have spent most of my life.
I belong to a religious family, so we would often visit temples in the city (and there are quite a lot of them, you could spot a little mandir on every street). Temples are a great site to observe how people from different places and backgrounds come together to pray, to crib about the long waiting line, to discuss tactics to evade ‘prasad‘ capture by macaques and what not.
If one were to pinpoint that one thing that was similar in almost all temples would be that ‘corner’. That corner with all the discarded flowers, fruits, incense sticks, coconut shells and list would go on.
All the generated waste would eventually find their way to the Ganges, decomposing ever so slightly, polluting the Ganges bit by bit.
I used to wonder often if this waste could be processed or was there a way to lessen our abuse on increasingly shrinking water bodies.
Thankfully, someone found a solution. Ankit Agrawal and Karan Rastogi from Kanpur, have been successfully transforming holy waste into vermicompost and organic incense sticks for over a year now.
They are simultaneously achieving several objectives with their enterprise, HelpUsGreen. They are preventing more waste from entering the Ganges. Their export quality organic products are made by 85 women from different self-help groups in Kanpur.
In this JoshTalks video, Ankit tells you about the dangers of allowing holy waste to decompose in the Ganges and how the idea to make the best out of the waste occurred to him and his friend.