- ‘Gomaya Diyas’ can be converted into manure for gardens
- ‘Gomaya Diyas’ are decorated with non-toxic colours made from plants
- The project has prevented 173 tonnes of emissions from pottery furnace
New Delhi: In a bid to check air pollution and waste generated every year during the Diwali season, a group of students from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology)-Delhi have designed eco-friendly lamps made from cow-dung. According to Aman Sagar, a student at IIT-Delhi, the initiative was undertaken by project Arth which is a social venture founded by the institution along with Enactus, an environmental think tank based in the United States of America, with an aim to work towards devising more practical and low-cost solutions to environmental issues.
While talking to NDTV, Mr. Sagar, who is a second year student of B-Tech in Chemical Engineering, said that the regular earthen lamps are made using furnaces in order to harden the clay which causes air pollution whereas cow-dung lamps called ‘Gomaya Diyas’ do not produce any carbon emissions during manufacturing. Arth has prevented about 173 tonnes of harmful emissions from the pottery furnace resulting in a reduction in Carbon footprint.
These ‘diyas’ can be used as organic manure for gardens after the festival and so to some extent it also tries to tackle the problem of waste generated after Diwali as cow-dung can be easily mixed with the soil while the regular clay lamps take months to, he said. Through this initiative, the students are also trying to contribute to waste management as most of the time, the cow dung from ‘gaushalas’ (cowsheds) are just thrown away in open that also pollutes the environment. Mr. Sagar added,
One of the key issues we work on is air pollution. For this we have started making items from cow-dung which is more eco-friendly. ‘Gomaya Diyas’ are decorated using plat based colours and are 100 per cent compostable. Artificial dyes are becoming a major water pollutant in India, while the traditional terracotta lamps require baking that results in high levels of gaseous emissions. We have already sold over six lakh lamps for Diwali and our target is sending out 11 lakh lamps. About a hundred tonnes of cow dung is prevented from polluting the NCR water and air.
He further added that ‘Gomaya Diyas’ have a smooth and elegant built, that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also robust in its usage. While explaining the manufacturing process he said,
Before taking the form of the pious ‘diya’, cow dung has to go through multiple processes. Cow dung goes through iterative drying and mixing along with other organic products in specific mixtures in modern machines. The mixture thus obtained is then taken in batches to be used as inputs in the moulds, both for small and large scale production. The output from the previous step is then dried for several hours, cleaned, polished, colored, and dried again. After these series of processes, Arth’s cow dung based diyas are packed and shipped pan India to bless the buyers and their families!
The ‘Gomaya Diyas’ can be purchased on the online platform created by the team for marketing these at Rs. 4 per piece on an average. Mr. Sagar added that in order to use these as manure, the ‘diyas’ need to be soaked in water for some time and then crushed before adding in the pots and gardens.
Rahul Rawat, 18-year-old student of the University of Delhi, decided to opt for ‘Gomaya Diyas’ in line with his resolution to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. He said,
These lamps not only help save fertile land but also helps extra spillage of dung to rivers. I got to know about Arth’s initiative from a friend. I have always looked for Eco-friendly products as a substitute to normal day to day products. When I visited the ArthKart website, I was very amazed and excited to try them out. It’s amazing how easily they have integrated festival and environment through such a small yet substantial thing as a diya. With such a small effort, we can help save the environment and make Gaushalas sustainable. I made sure everyone in my neighborhood bought the ‘diyas’ and were receptive to this great initiative.
Earlier, the Arth project designed an eco-friendly alternate to wooden logs that are made of cow dung called ‘Arth logs’ in order to avoid cutting trees and to reduce air pollution caused during cremations. While commenting on Arth’s initiatives using cow-dung, Dr. Y K Saxena, Scientist at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), who had earlier collaborated with the team said that eco-friendly alternatives like these can help in tackling the problem of air pollution and poor waste management. While signing off, Mr. Sagar said,
Diwali is the festival of lights. It is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil. In the current times, the activities harming the environment and damaging the health of the people and all flora and fauna of the planet are the evils. We all have to come together to defeat these evils by thinking from the perspective of sustainability and making more environment friendly choices.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.