GUY-11: Saving the environment with plastic flowers
Shabna Ulla Stabroek News mayo 2007
Plastic bottles are no longer an annoying sight or environmental worry at Harban Spoor Dam, Cotton Tree. One man has chosen to recycle them into flowers not just to beautify his yard but to save the environment.
Seventy-six-year-old Ramsood Raghunandan is fabricating plastic bottles lying around in the West Berbice village into artificial flowers with the help of his nephew and using a few pieces of 1/2 and 3/4 inch PVC pipes and paint.
Raghunandan, who has lived most of his life in Canada, told Stabroek News that during one of his visits home "ah noticed the yard was getting too much grass so I decided to concrete it."
He shaped sections of the yard into three large stars using concrete blocks, but did not concrete those parts. The stars, originally meant to accommodate fresh flower plants, are now decorated with the plastic flowers. And Raghunandan boasts that they "sparkle when the sun is hot and when the wind blows the petals." During a midmorning visit, this newspaper observed that the 'petals' indeed glittered as he claimed.
The man had set about to plant fresh flowers but could not find anyone to take care of them while he was away. So determined was he to have flowers in his yard that he decided he did not care whether they were real or not and he went around in the village gathering bottles. But as he got better at making the flowers, he began running out of bottles.
He then paid some young boys $100 each for a few bags of bottles that they had collected from the corners of the road.
Now when residents are finished with their bottles they no longer dump them carelessly but know exactly where to take them.
He noted that plastic bottles in drains and waterways have been a major cause of flooding in most villages and said he hoped what he was doing would encourage others to recycle their plastic bottles as well.
Raghunandan makes the flowers using a piece of the 1/2 inch PVC pipe which is cut to about 15 inches. On that he inserts three bottles that are cut to make the petals. These are separated using smaller portions of the 3/4 inch PVC pipe.
He then upturns a smaller bottle at the top of the pipe and paints it. He has even tried a new method of using a gallon bottle - which he paints - as a vase and sticks more than one pipe with 'flowers' into it to make a bunch.
But the entire procedure is not without a cost. So far he has made over 100 of the flowers and he has spent about $40,000.
And that is not the only activity he is engaged in to keep himself busy. When he is in Guyana he makes 'salt-sev' (a snack made from flour and ground peas) and supplies a few shops in the community - a trade he was involved in before migrating.
He even presented this reporter with several packages of the snack which proved to be very delicious.
From a very young age, Raghunandan started to work at the Guysuco Estate, Blairmont. As a mechanic at the estate before retirement he repaired heavy-duty machinery.
His duties also included fabricating tugs to transport cane and manufacturing irrigators to pump water into the cane fields.
At 76, the athletic Raghunandan does not suffer from any medical complaints. But he feels if he sits around for too long doing nothing, ill health would definitely start to creep in.
He cites that as his main reason for not wanting to stay for long periods in Canada, where he is resident.