字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 India produces tons of flower waste every day. But now, one company is giving a second life to these sacred flowers, collecting more than 12 tons of them from temples and transforming them into handmade incense sticks. But can this blossoming startup make an impact on India's flower waste problem? We visited the headquarters of Phool in Kanpur to find out. It all starts in bustling wholesale markets, like the one in Shivalaya. Merchants pick up the flowers that they'll sell outside Hindu temples. Because these flowers are used in rituals, they're considered sacred and can't be thrown into the garbage. Every day, more than 1,000 tons of flowers end up in the Ganges River. But many contain toxic chemicals like arsenic, lead, and cadmium, as well as pesticides. I have been seeing people putting flowers in the water all my life. But never before had anyone questioned temple waste as a source of pollution. The seed was sown. Ankit founded Phool, which is the Hindi word for flower. The company's employees pick up the waste from temples throughout Kanpur, making around 19 stops a day. Then they transport the flowers to Phool's facility, where they weigh and separate them from thread, fabric, and plastic. Workers save only the flower petals for the incense sticks and sort them by color. They keep the buds and stems to create compost that is sold as a separate product. Then they lay the flower petals out to dry on large tarps. Once they're dry, they grind them into a powder that is mixed by hand with water and essential oils until it reaches a claylike texture. Then it's time to roll. Workers dip their fingers into the flower powder while rolling to create an even thickness. Then they let the sticks dry before dipping them again in essential oils. They're laid out to dry one more time, then packaged up. Workers here can produce around 400 incense sticks every hour. Ankit calls this transformation flower-cycling. And he says his product is cleaner than others. Normally, incense sticks are made from charcoal. Burning charcoal releases the poisonous sulfur dioxide and gives out a lot of xylene chemicals. In the beginning, Ankit's family and friends doubted his business. When I decided to quit my job and come back to Kanpur, the reaction of the immediate people I knew was I had gone bonkers. That I want to leave a job as an automation scientist and work with temple flowers. He also had to convince the temples to give his business their sacred flower waste. But he says they didn't initially trust him. There's this line in the Hindu Arti that says "Tera tujhko arpan," which basically means what belongs to the gods goes back to the gods. So this is how I used to convince them that these flowers don't belong to you or me -- they belong to the gods. And we're using it for the purpose of making incense, which is again being used for worshipping the gods. Ankit also wants to find other ways of recycling the flowers. He started a research lab to develop new products. They're testing vegan leather and a biodegradable alternative to Styrofoam. But those aren't ready for sale. Still, floral waste makes up only about 16% of pollution that runs into the Ganges. Harmful chemicals, open sewer drainage, and garbage run directly into the river. That's a growing danger for the more than 400 million people that rely on the river for drinking water. And despite best efforts to save the Ganges, it's a long way from being restored to anything like its headwaters in the icy Himalayas. Ankit knows his startup can't clean up the river on its own, but he thinks he can help create awareness about a problem he says has been ignored. And he's setting goals to grow his production and waste collection. Our target is to at least have 50 tons of flowers across five locations in the country to be able to employ 1,000 women. For now, every stick sold is infused with the smell of success.