From waste to wealth, saving water and plants

Empty plastic bottles turn into drip irrigator in homes

Updated - May 21, 2016 11:12 am IST

Published - April 14, 2014 10:02 am IST - SALEM

SAVING RESOURCES: Plastic bottles used for irrigation in an apartment in Salem.  Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

SAVING RESOURCES: Plastic bottles used for irrigation in an apartment in Salem. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Abandoned empty plastic bottles are considered a serious threat to the environment. But at the Green Park Avenue Apartments near the New Bus Stand in Salem, residents have found out a novel utility for such bottles by using them for drip irrigation.

These bottles are not only helping the residents of 168 houses to save close to 4,500 litres of water everyday but also becoming the solution for keeping the colourful plants from getting dried up during summer.

.Association sources said that last year many small plants dried up when water scarcity was at its peak.

“Recently one of the residents, M. Chandrasekar, saw a friend using empty plastic bottles for watering the plants in his house to keep plants alive during summer.

He suggested that it could be done in a bigger way in our apartments”, President of the residents welfare association P. Saraswathi told The Hindu .

“We made an announcement in the notice board asking residents to donate plastic bottles. The response was overwhelming”, she added.

The idea also attracted visitors, who were keen to understand and take pictures of the system.

The bottom of the bottles is cut open. 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. The bottle 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.

“We use bottles of all shapes and sizes – measuring 500 ml to two litres – based on the size of the plant. We would soon be tying more such bottles to the remaining plants”, E. Kasinathan, maintenance in-charge of the apartments, said.

The welfare association said 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 shrubsand mid sized plants alive in their premises. Some flowers are used by the residents to offer prayers in a temple in that vicinity and for offering the same to the idols at home

“Now we are saving about 90 percent of the water. The bottles that we have tied to the plants require only about 500 litres of water a day”, they said.

“These bottles are 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”, they added. 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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