ACT Powai, being a local environmental and social project, deals with various problems each community. For example, depleting green cover and deterioration of air quality. So, under the project “ACT Powai”, the Earth5R team is starting tree plantations to develop a sustainable model to increase green cover of the Powai area and also provide an alternative source of income for underprivileged people.
India has had a huge problem of deforestation. In Powai alone, 30% of the green cover has been lost in the last 10 years. With a shortage of plant nursery shops, new ideas need to be formed to fix this issue. Earth5R has come up with a model that addresses this issue along with involving underprivileged communities, under our project ACT Powai.
In these communities, most of the waste they generate is organic waste. This can be easily processed into nutrient-rich compost, that can be used to plant trees and other plants. With this, the communities can plant tree saplings on the roofs of their buildings and earn a livelihood by selling them while at the same time, cooling down their house with the shade.
This project is inspired by Wangari Maathai, who started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. She initiated a planting of 30 million trees across Kenya to increase the green cover. Established in 1977, this movement organises women in rural Kenya to plant trees in order to combat deforestation and stop soil erosion.
This is a great initiative that promotes environmental conservation, builds climate resilience by reducing our carbon footprint and at the same time, it fosters a source of income for women. Wangari Maathai found a way to integrate women empowerment, economic development, and environmental restoration into the Green Belt Movement movement which is the same idea behind Earth5R’s initiative.
WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT
We are trying to create a self-sustainable model and a build a circular economy to provide a solution for a number of issues, specific to Powai’s needs. Landfills have been filling up rapidly due to the large population in India and the small amount of space. If households could treat their own organic waste at the source, there would be no crisis. The rotting of this organic waste in landfills is a major contributor to greenhouse gases like methane.
Through the installation of composting units in the homes of the underprivileged, this issue can be almost solved. They can then use the soil that is generated from this compost to grow saplings from seeds. These saplings can be grown in a vertical garden to further reduce the space it will take up. Storing these plants on rooftops will also help reduce the amount of heat that enters the house, making it more comfortable during hot summers.
Lastly, these people will be able to earn money as they sell their saplings back to the Earth5R team once they are ready to be planted in the ground.
TESTING THE IDEA
On June 27th, the Earth5R team went to a local community to test out this idea before implementing it on a large scale. We talked to women about the idea of planting trees as a means to generate income. Earth5R provided compost from residential buildings nearby, although in the future the idea is that the households will compost their own organic waste and use this soil for the planting.
Saurabh Gupta, the founder of Earth5R, explained to the women that once the trees were big enough to be planted in the ground, we will buy them and use them to plant around Powai. The women, and even the children, seemed excited about this idea and were eager to start planting.
Saurabh Gupta, founder of Earth5R, explaining to local women and children the why it is so important of tree plantings.
Adding compost to the pots so that the trees will have rich nutrients to grow.
Planting the tree saplings into the pots.
Setting the plants on the roof where they can get access to sunlight.
GOALS UNDER ACT POWAI
In order to increase the green cover of the area, our goal is to plant 3600 trees in Powai in the span of 3 months, while generating an alternate source of livelihood for the underprivileged citizens of Powai.
Earth5R has been working with a number of environmental teams, including the French government. In March of 2018, the founder of Earth5R, Saurabh Gupta, was asked to join “Young Leaders India-France” by the president of France, Mr. Emmanuel Macron. With a strong team like this, the initiative is sure to succeed.