In our “Let’s Discuss Solutions” series, we bring to you Kirti Bhave. Kirti shows us a way of how everybody can participate in river conservation. And do you know the best thing? With this initiative, you can keep river clean from your house :-).
Yes, read on to know how to.
In one corner of her kitchen, Prabhat Road resident Kirti Bhave always has a bottle full of fruit peels and vegetable waste. Slowly and without any effort, the bottle of waste keeps making cleaning enzymes for Kirti.
Kirti has been making this garbage/fruit enzyme for the past 2 years as an eco-friendly substitute for floor and toilet cleaners. It has multiple uses: unclogs drains, fertilizer for plants, insect repellent, and more. Very harmful chemicals are used as pesticides and fertilizers, which ultimately wash into rivers. The replacement of all these chemicals with natural enzymes and for growing plants protects the river through small changes in our day to day lives.
Kirti is concerned with all the Lizol and Harpic going into our rivers and harming them, and also our health. “We do need cleanliness, but such fear of germs isn’t necessary,” she says. Besides, products like Harpic cause irritation to my eyes and hands.
Kirti says, “This is my little effort to minimise the use of harsh chemicals which pollute our beautiful rivers. It is very easy to make!”
With that, she quickly shares the recipe for this enzyme:
Ingredients for 1 litre enzyme
2 litre bottle
1 litre water
300 gm fruit peels/any vegetables, except onion, garlic or any vegetable which has a strong smell
100 gm jaggery or brown sugar, for feeding bacteria
Put the water, fruit/vegetable and jaggery in the bottle
Mark the date on the bottle
Write ingredients on the bottle
Open the bottle once a day, do not close it tight as gas forms. Repeat for a month.
Keep in shade, beneficial for microbial activity
Ready for use after 3 months!
Tips for making:
The stuff in the bottle will settle at the bottom. The enzyme can be used directly without straining, or you can strain before use.
The solution will release an acidic smell when it is ready.
In case of worms in the bottle, add some jaggery
To add fragrance to the floor cleaner, add gavati chaha/lemon to the fruit enzyme; adding jhendu (marigold) makes for a good mosquito repellent.
Citrus is good for cleaning.
Mopping: 2 lids of the bottle cap for about a 15 litre bucket
Cleaning washing machine: 1 cup for 1 cycle to clean inside of the drum for front load washing machine
Dishwasher: 1 cup
For unclogging drains – half cup every 8 days (Works like magic. Had to call a plumber for unclogging otherwise.)
For plants: 1 spoon in 5 litre for spraying in morning or evening. Good insecticide with chillies, garlic and onion.
Can wash oily bags and dishes with it
Kirti is now considering preparing 4-5 drums of the enzyme to share with her friends and neighbours who want it but are not willing to make it. She is contemplating shifting to the enzyme for use in the washing machine too.
The mother of two school boys has been an active composter and gardener since she was in college. But when she did the course in field botany, she started paying attention to all the damages around like excessive topsoil use. And when she joined the Brown Leaf group, founded by Jeevitnadi’s director Aditi Deodhar, she picked up the art of finding a solution and a way for all kinds of problems. “Brown Leaf was a turning point for me, it helped me grow as a person,” says Kirti, who used to work in an NGO involved in community development.
Strengthened with knowledge and the support of a community, Kirti started speaking up. “I used to ignore problems like the condition of the river, I used to feel bad but I didn’t take action, it always seemed hard with two children and a job, But now I have started taking action rather than just feeling bad about it. I do my bit in my whatever possible way,” says a determined Kirti.
As Kirti started analysing her lifestyle, she also started looking for more alternatives two years ago. “I have replaced soap with homemade utana and shampoo with shikakai and reetha,” she shares. Her multiple searches led her to Do-It-Yourself Youtube videos from which she created her own eco-friendly recipes. Her experiments have helped her judge what methods and ingredients will work. She is able to pick information from different sources and put together her own recipes effectively.
And Kirti quickly adds here: I look for sustainable options, rather than just “eco-friendly” ones. By sustainable I mean that it should have a small footprint, be long-lasting, create minimum garbage and effluents, and be affordable. I also look for things that I can make and do myself. The focus is to buy minimum things from the market.
Parallely, Kirti strongly believes that the current “eco-friendly” products are not sensible. “They are usually very expensive. They should be sold cheaper so that all people can buy them.
These products have to come down to the common person’s pocket. Labelling it organic and selling only for 10% population isn’t sufficient,” says the homemaker.
Kirti has set up an innovative arrangement with a bhurji-paav cart wala. She collects egg shells from him. The crushed egg shells are added to plants for calcium. With this she is not only providing an essential nutrient to the plants, but is also diverting all those egg shells from dump yards. What an idea!
We are seriously wondering, could this idea of collection of fruit peels from juice bars/carts be taken up as a business venture?
Blog by Shatakshi Gawade, Media Coordinator, Jeevitnadi – Living River Foundation