Mumbai based agriculturist, Dilip Shah, started his annual campaign of distributing one lakh saplings each year for free. It’s been 17 years since the campaign started and Shah continues to keep the tradition alive. He gives us nine tips on how an individual can make a difference to the environment, in his/her small way.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE HOUSE PLANTS
Your humble houseplant can decrease the CO2 levels in your house substantially. They are easier to maintain -especially considering cramped Mumbai houses -and they fit easily into balcony grills and windows. One can also plant kitchen herbs like basil, rosemary, chillies and so on. Creepers are also a great idea. The grill gives them ample support and it also beautifies the flat.
TERRACE IS THE WAY TO GO
Mumbai has long since abandoned the idea of lawns and gardens. Blame it on buildings encroaching on green, open spaces and the city’s teeming millions. Terraces are the only available spaces, thus making terrace gardens a necessity.
They also go a long way in making the city green. One can start with small plants and then accordingly expand. Check with your building society office to collaborate on this.
OPEN THOSE DOORS AND WINDOWS
Switch off the AC for an hour at least. Open those doors and windows to help ventilate the work space better.Even at home, don’t switch on the AC immediately when you get home as our body acclimatises to the temperature. Air conditioners consume a lot of electricity and also generate a lot of heat.
OPT FOR ELECTRIC CREMATION
Mumbai disposes about 100 bodies a month, and most people opt for the traditional funeral pyre to cremate bodies. To accommodate that need, about 50,000 trees are cut in Mumbai annually. People should opt for electric or LPG gas cremation. This will help preserve the forest cover in and around the city.
PROTECT OUR WATER BODIES
Think twice before immersing an idol in the sea after a religious procession or celebration. They not only pollute the sea, but also harm the marine flora and fauna.
DITCH THE CAR
Assign one day in the week as a `nocar day’. Use public transport, or hitch a ride to work with a colleague. Better still, invest in a bicycle. It will also keep you healthy.
DEPEND LESS ON ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
Appliances like microwaves, induction cook tops, washing machines and dryers consume huge amounts of electricity. Limit your dependence on them. Instead, use alternate methods of cooking. Heat your food on the gas stove, instead of nuking it in the microwave. Rely on sunshine to dry your clothes naturally, instead of opting for the dryer.
Though old, this one is really effective. Reduce your dependence on plastic. If you are forced to use it, then make sure you recycle and reuse it.Buy bigger bottles of shampoos, detergents and similar household products.Also, carry a jute canvas cloth bag with you when out shopping.
SPREAD AWARENESS TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION
Inculcate love and respect for Mother Nature in children at a young age.The sooner they make nature a part of their normal life, the sooner they will preserve and protect it. Engage your children with nature -make them walk barefoot on the grass and take them for hikes and treks.