With temperatures rising across the Northern Hemisphere, it is imperative that each of us do our bit to save our planet. And what better day than today, Earth Day — a day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Here are a few simple ways in which we can commemorate this day and be eco-conscious for the rest of the year.
Composting not only recycles kitchen waste, but is also a good soil conditioner. Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, leaves and grass, garden plants, flowers, newspaper, coffee grounds, tea leaves, cardboard and wood chips can all be composted. There are two ways to do it at home — indoors and in the backyard. You can either purchase a bin or make one on your own. Convert a plastic bin with a lid into a compost pit, drill some holes into it and line the inside with a wire mesh to keep rats out. After you have started using it, give the bin a shake every two days or so. If the contents are wet or if there is any unpleasant smell, add some shredded leaves or sawdust to dry it out.
b. Start your own balcony garden
Many of us may live in apartment complexes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own little gardens. Make use of your balcony space to set up plants in old watering cans, paint cans or dresser drawers instead of plastic containers. You can grow low-maintenance vegetables like tomatoes, chillies, brinjal or ladies fingers, or plants like tulsi, aloe vera and curry leaves. Remember to place them in spots where they get adequate sunlight, to water them regularly and to use your wet waste as compost or organic fertilisers.
c. Rainwater harvesting
It isn’t time for rains yet, but the meteorological department has predicted that we will receive above average rainfall this year, which makes it an ideal time to set up a rainwater harvesting system. This becomes even more important, given that many parts of the state are suffering from drought. In urban areas, rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting, filtering and using rainwater that falls on rooftops (terraces or tile roofs) and in porticos. This can be adopted in two ways — recharging bore wells and groundwater sources and collecting rainwater for reuse. Adopt the system that works best for your home and get it installed by professionals. This will go a long way in ensuring that you have sufficient supply of water.
d. Plant saplings
The theme for this year’s Earth Day is ‘Trees For The Earth’, so what better way to mark the day than by planting saplings? But ensure that you plant one at least 20 feet from other trees. Remember not to plant near, above or below ground utilities. Once you’ve picked the right spot, dig a small hole about six inches wide and as deep as the root ball. Keep the top of the root ball even with the ground and ensure that it is placed on firm soil to prevent sinking. Fill the hole firmly with soil and add compost on top for additional nutrients. Build a mulch ring around the tree, two inches from the trunk. It keeps the soil moist, adds nutrients and improves soil structure. Water the plant three times a week for around two years.
e. Have an organic meal
If you’re a foodie and love to celebrate special occasions by rustling up a meal for family and friends, then go all out and prepare an organic one. You can source some of the ingredients from your balcony garden if you already have one, or shop for the organic variety and local produce. Prepare your meal in such a way that you use as much of each ingredient as possible. Opt for non-disposable plates, cutlery and napkins to keep the waste minimal.