‘Clear out chemicals to clean up lakes’

Bio-enzymes are made by fermenting jaggery with citrus fruit peels and water.

Bio-enzymes are made by fermenting jaggery with citrus fruit peels and water.  

Bio-enzymes can replace household cleaners, say these women

At the Compost Santhe held at Domlur here on Saturday, among the din of leaf shredders and stalls selling everything from biogas composters to organic air fresheners, a group of community gardeners had set up shop with bottles of clear citrus-scented liquid and bowls of soap nuts and shikakai . The bottles contained bio-enzymes, formed by fermentation of citrus peels and jaggery, which they claimed could replace every kind of household cleaner.

“One cause for Bengaluru’s frothing lakes are the chemicals used in our houses that eventually enter the water,” said Indiranagar resident Vani Bhaskar, who manned the stall. She explained how different combinations of the liquid with soap nuts and shikakai , could be used for both personal hygiene and household cleaning.

Ms. Bhaskar and other community gardeners from different parts of the city have been participating in the Compost Santhes being organised by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to encourage more people to adopt natural cleansers. Many were introduced to the technique by entrepreneur Smitha Kamath, who started making bio-enzymes four years ago, and now conducts workshops to share this knowledge.

Bio-enzymes are made by fermenting jaggery with citrus fruit peels and water in a ratio of 1:3:10. Without any external additive, the fermentation process takes three months.

Ms. Kamath says that citizens have a major role to play in reducing pollution in lakes. “Even after sewage is treated, not all effluents are removed. Everything, including what we use to clean our toilets, matters,” said Ms. Kamath, adding, “Bio-enzymes have live micro organisms that break down dirt, and increase the oxygen content in water.”

Learn it on WhatsApp

And for those in need of more guidance, Basavangudi resident Vaijayanthi K. Madabhushi has started a WhatsApp course on making bio-enzymes. “Why use chemicals and make the water toxic? If everyone uses natural cleansers, it will reduce the amount of chemical effluents in water,” she said.

While information is available online, many hesitate to try or give up midway unsure if they are following the right technique, she said.

“Rather than throw a good batch away thinking it has formed mould, he or she could contact me to know if they are doing the process right,” she added.

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