'Plastic Free Broom'- An Eco-friendly Product from Tripura

Pawan K Kaushik, Priyabrata Debnath & Nabarun Paul

Forest Research Centre for Livelihood Extension, Agartala

June 11, 2020, 14:54:23   

Broom is a product which is used on daily basis in every household. Presently, the plastic made brooms are also available which may be hazardous to environment when in use and also when thrown after use. Plastic is known to be carcinogenic material which may cause cancer. Due to daily use, the brush portion of the plastic broom comes in contact of the floor and as a result of the friction with the floor the plastic is broken into micro particles which afterwards enter into our body with air we inhale, and also with the food we are eating and as a result the hazardous nano particles of the carcinogenic plastic are getting into our body and gradually may cause different severe diseases like cancer. When we throw away the plastic broom it doesn’t decompose so easily and cause soil and water pollution. Plastic blocks the drainage system and give shelter to mosquitoes which spreads many deadly diseases. 

Keeping this in mind, FRCLE, Agartala had come up with an idea of making Phul Jharus (brooms made up of broom grass) a 100% plastic-free much demanding essential utility product. In broom, the handles are made of suitable bamboo species i.e. Dolu (Schyzostachym dullooa) and Muli (Melocanna baccifera), which is abundantly available in Tripura. 

Brooms are made from inflorescence of Thysanolaema maxima, locally called Arjun flowers, which is one of the important minor forest produce of Tripura. This is used for sweeping after tying several in a bundle. In our "Phul Jharu" the tying of bundles is done with bamboo slivers and its handle is also made of bamboo to avoid using plastics. Broom grass grows naturally in the hilly slopes in Tripura and NE States. The local people meet their requirement generally from neighboring forests and the urban population generally purchases it from the local markets. Collection of Arjun flowers starts by January end which continues till March-April in mostly 3 instalments every year. During this period, the forest dwellers collect Arjun flowers from forests and sell it through JFMCs. Due to the extension initiatives of FRCLE, many jhumia communities have also started its cultivation on Jhum abandoned areas.

The newly launched Phul Jharu is a true eco-friendly product as all the material used in this product is collected from nature itself and when disposed after its use, it is decomposed by microbes and they get back to nature again. The plastic broom presently available in market causes much harm to nature as these plastics take many decades to decompose and it causes plastic pollution when thrown away. The Phul Jharu is also a pocket friendly product as it is cheaper in price but works more efficiently then the plastic ones. 

Promotion of the product under MAKE IN TRIPURA will no doubt create livelihood opportunities for the local farmers and artisans of Tripura and other NE States, also to those who are planning for a start-up, can think about manufacturing this product to give employment to the unemployed people. Also as it's a MAKE IN TRIPURA product, it will make Tripura popular if marketed properly nationally as well as internationally. This eco-friendly broom will cause no harm to the Mother Nature and so people must think of using it also to avoid health hazards caused by plastic pollution.

The plastic brooms should not be promoted as it causes soil, air and water pollution at the same time and also causing many fatal diseases. On the other hand the eco-friendly broom developed by FRCLE, Agartala is biodegradable, 100% plastic free and hence doesn't cause plastic pollution. Honorable CM of Tripura had titled it as a MAKE IN TRIPURA product and promoting it for providing employment generation to the local communities besides helping the global communities in beating the plastic pollution. 

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