While the state reels under a drought-like situation, University of Pune’s (UoP) Board of Students Welfare (BSF) has initiated a water-saving project to irrigate saplings through drip irrigation using discarded saline bottles.
“This system will bring down the usage of water from 40 litres (two buckets) to two litre per day per tree,” said Dr Pandit Shelke, Director, BSF.
“In the first phase, we have arranged saline bottles for 86 saplings planted near the SET Guest House. According to data collected by students working on the project, there are around 1,000 saplings and shrubs on campus,” he added.
As many as 90 students from BSF’s Earn and Learn scheme are working on this project. They are divided into six groups of 15 and will cover 1,000 saplings and shrubs spanning over six locations on the UoP campus by end of this month.
“The drought-like situation is going to aggravate in the coming summer months and it is a challenge to make sure that the saplings and shrubs don’t die in the heat,” said Nagesh Bansode, a group leader who is pursuing Masters in Economics.
Explaining the mechanism, Bansode said, “We have fixed a saline bottle on a stick next to a sapling or a shrub. The bottle has been fixed in such a way that its pipe reaches the stem of the sapling. The stem is covered with dry leaves to minimise evaporation and to keep it wet for long.”
Till date, Sancheti Hospital, Aundh Hospital and Hardikar Hospital have provided around 400 saline bottles to the BSF for the project.
“We had sent a request letter to hospitals to provide us with used saline bottles which are otherwise treated as medical waste. They considered our request and supplied us with the bottles,” said Shelke. The students will be spending three hours a day on the project and will be paid Rs 25 per hour.
Extent of project
The drip irrigation project is going to cover around 1,000 saplings and shrubs near the SET Guest House, UoP play ground, tennis court, Ayurvedic park, Chattrapati Shivaji Statue near the main gate, Jaykar library and Sant Namdev Auditorium by the end of this month. In the first phase, 86 saplings surrounding the SET Guest House have already been provided with drip irrigation. As many as 90 students — divided into six groups of 15 — from BSF’s Earn and Learn scheme are working on this project and earn Rs 25 per hour.