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Waste bottles to save environment

Empty plastic bottles are usually found lying on the road or mixed with the municipal waste that is later dumped at landfill sites, thus increasing the height of the waste heap. In short, they are abandoned empty plastic bottles and are considered a serious threat to the environment. But, some of the residents of Salem, Tamil Nadu, have discovered a novel utility for such bottles by using them for drip irrigation.

These bottles are not only helping the residents of 168 houses of Green Park Avenue Apartments to save close to 4,500 litres of water every day, but also becoming the solution for keeping the colourful plants from drying up during summer. Last year, it was reported that many small plants dried up when water scarcity was at its peak.

It all started with a notice asking residents to donate plastic bottles and received an overwhelming response. The idea also attracted visitors who were keen to understand and take pictures of the system. The process involves cutting the bottom of the bottles, after which a small hole is drilled into the bottle’s lid. The bottle is then tied to the plants (upside down) so that water can be filled through the open end. It is positioned in such a way that water drips near the plant’s root and is not wasted. These bottles are mounted on a small plastic pipe, which is tied close to the plant so that it acts as a support to bear the weight of a bottle filled with water. The bottles are then filled with water around 9.30 a.m. Water drips from smaller bottles till 3 p.m. The bigger bottles keep the soil wet till night.

The welfare association of the area had mentioned that they required more than 5,000 litres of water a day to water all the plants and trees in the premises. This mode of watering plants is keeping the shrubs and mid-sized plants alive in their premises. Now, they are saving about 90 percent of the water. The bottles that are tied to the plants require only about 500 litres of water a day.

Residents of the apartments are happy that the cost effective method is keeping their plants alive, while many plants are dying in other parts of the city due to water scarcity.

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