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Course and overview of Sustainability

Jeevitnadi is a group of individuals from various walks of life, who have come together for a cause; revival of Mula-Mutha rivers.

A beautiful meandering Mutha river is converted into a garbage and sewage canal once in the city. Rivers are no longer natural living systems, but mere waterbodies, controlled by humans, polluted and encroached upon by the unplanned, ever-expanding urban sprawl. Our water requirement is fulfilled through the four dams upstream, two on Mutha and two on its tributaries, namely Ambi and Moshi. Lack of dependence on river for water breeds indifference to it.

Each drop of water we use is converted into sewage water.The chemicals that are present in the toothpastes, shampoos, soaps, detergents etc. go in the sewage water. No STP can remove these dissolved chemicals from water. They ultimately end up in our river, adding to pollution.

When the issue of river pollution is discussed, invariably our finger points to the obvious culprit, the industry. But what was eye-opener for us was that the fact that around 70% of the pollution in Mutha is domestic. Industry and agriculture together contribute to the rest 30%.

We are responsible for 70% of pollution in our river?

But does that also mean we can keep river clean up to 70% through our own actions?

But how? The question prompted a series of discussions with experts, a lot of explorations and brainstorming sessions among the members. As a result, emerged a two-fold objective for Jeevitnadi; a detailed study and assessment of the current state of river in view of developing future plan and strategy and promotion of “toxin-free lifestyle”. We decided to focus on what each of us as an individual can do for our river. Adoption of “toxin-free-lifestyle” involves replacing hazardous chemicals with the ones that are not harmful to us and the environment.

It is easier said than done since it involves a major lifestyle change. But reducing pollution at the source is the only sustainable way going forward than creating pollution and finding ways to treat it. Jeevitnadi team members have created a few products to help people get started with the change and also the recipe of these products are openly shared for people to try.

Any problem solving requires two factors, capability needed to solve the problem and will to solve the problem. Capability certainly is not the issue in Pune city and still our rivers continue to be in pathetic state. Hence the issue is will power (or the lack of it to be more precise).Jeevitnadi is a movement. Its vision is not limited to Mula-Mutha and Pune city. We wish to build a pressure group consisting of citizens and government, working together for our common future. The goal as the name suggests is the Living River, applicable to any river in any city. Anybody working for river or wishing to, is a part of this movement.

Eco-Friendly Family Starter Kit

Given below are the contents of the starter kit, recipe of the individual items as also directions to use. Currently, the kit contains 8 items that caters to daily, basic personal hygiene and household cleaning needs.

Most of these items are available at an Ayurveda shop or your grocer might also be providing the same. You can prepare the items at home with the help of the recipes given, or alternately, you can place an order in advance and collect the kit or any individual item/s from Jeevitnadi volunteers residing closest to your locality. The contact numbers are given at the end. You can also order by dropping a mail at jeevitnadi@gmail.com mentioning your contact no. and locality and you will be provided with the contact no. of the nearest volunteer.

Contents of the kit (8 items)

Personal Hygiene Items

  1. Dental Care(Dantamanjan)
  2. Body Wash(Utane)
  3. Hair Wash

Household Cleaning Items

  1. Shikakai powder
  2. Ritha powder
  3. Baking soda
  4. All Purpose Cleaner (Vinegar)
  5. Toilet Cleaner (Vinegar)

Personal Hygiene Items

  1. Dental care (Dantamanjan)-

    (Blend of medicinal herbs)
    • Properties-

      Natural astringent, fights bad breath and tooth decay, tightens and strengthens gums
    • Recipe-

      1. Ingredients –

        a. Hirda (Terminalia chebula)

        b. Lavang powder (Syzigiumaromaticum)

        c. Bakul powder (Mimusopselengi)

        d. Kadulimb bark powder (Azadirachtaindica)

        e. Babhul bark powder (Acacia nilotica)

        f. Saindhav (Rock salt)

      2. Method -

        Sieve all ingredients and mix well in the following proportion –

        i) 1 part each of Bakul powder and Neem bark powder

        ii) 2 parts each of Hirda powder, Babhul bark powder and Saindhav.

        iii) 1/2 part Lavang powder

        Dantamanjan is ready. Store in an airtight container.
    • Directions for use -

      1. Use a pinch of Dantamanjan on a wet toothbrush or finger and brush as usual. For best results massage gums with finger, dip wet toothbrush in Dantamanjan and brush as usual.

      2. For children use any green toothpaste (Vicco, Meswak etc..).

  2. Body Wash (Utane)-

    (Blend of medicinal herbs)
    • Properties-

      Gives long lasting fragrance, exfoliating, has a cooling effect, moisturises, disinfectant, makes skin soft
    • Recipe-

      1. Ingredients –

        a. Chandan - Sandalwood (Santalum album)

        b. Gavhlakachora(Hedychium spicatum)

        c. Tulas (Ocimum sanctum)

        d. Kachora(Curcuma zedoaria)

        e. Gulab – Rose petals (Rosa centifolia)

        f. Santrasaal –Orange peel (Citrus sinensis)

        g. Multanimati (Fullers earth)

        h. Nagarmotha(Cyperusrotundus)

        i. Bavchi(Cullen corylifolium)

        j. Vala(Chrysopogonzizanioides)

        k.Ambehalad(Curcuma amada)

      2. Method -

        Sieve all ingredients and mix well in the following proportion -

        i) 1 part each of Chandan, Gavhlakachora, Tulas and Kachora

        ii) 2 parts each of Gulab, Santrasaal, Multanimati, Nagarmotha, Bavchi, Vala and Ambehalad.

        Utane is ready. Store in an airtight container.
    • Directions for use -

      1. For normal and oily skin – Make a paste of 1 tablespoon powder and water and apply to skin or sprinkle over wet skin directly and scrub. For best results, leave for 1-2 minutes and then rinse.

      2. For dry skin - Make a paste of 1 tablespoon powder and milk or cream and apply as above

  3. Hair Wash-

    (Blend of Shikakai, Ritha and medicinal herbs)
    • Properties-

      Mild hair cleanser, effective against dandruff and hair fall, conditions hair naturally, maintains natural texture and natural oils, keeps hair healthy and smooth, prevents scalp infection (antifungal)
    • Recipe-

      1. Ingredients –

        a. Shikakai - Soap pod powder (Acacia concinna)

        b. Ritha - Soap nut powder (Sapinduslaurifolius)

        c. Masala –

          i) Avala powder (Phyllanthusemblica)

         ii) Orange peel powder (Citrus sinensis)

          iii)Nagarmotha (Cyperusrotundus

         iv) Bavchi (Cullen corylifolium)

          v) Kachora (Curcumazedoaria)

          vi) Vala (Chrysopogonzizanioides

      2. Method -

        Mix all ingredients well in the following proportion –

        i) 1 kg Shikakai

        ii) 100gms Ritha,

        iii) 1 ready pack Masala

        Dantamanjan is ready. Store in an airtight container.
    • Directions for use -

      1. For normal and oily hair – Add 2 tablespoons powder to a glass of lukewarm water (For best results, boil the powder in 1 glass water, strain and then use). Rinse hair in lukewarm water and apply mixture while massaging your scalp. Then wash clean.

      2. For dry hair – Add 1 tablespoon powder to a glass of lukewarm water and wash as above.

      Avoid contact with eyes. In case of irritation or burning to eyes, clean eyes liberally with water

Household Cleaning Items

  1. Shikakaipowder (Soap Pod)-

    • Properties-

      Mild, natural soap, Surfactant, First-class softener, Anti-fungal, Natural astringent
    • Directions for use -

      Use shikekai as soap..

  2. Ritha powder (Soap Nut) -

    • Properties-

      Natural soap, Surfactant, Excellent cleaning agent for clothes to ornaments, Anti-microbial, Insecticidal, Anti-inflammatory
    • Directions for use -

      Use to wash your silks and delicates..

  3. Baking Soda-

    • Properties-

      pH regulator, Excellent cleaning agent, Natural Deodoriser, Therapeutic
    • Directions for use -

      Sprinkle on kitchen sink and wash basins, scrub and wash. You will notice that the kitchen sink will not clog if cleaned daily with baking soda as it is a dirt buster and cuts across grime as it washes.

  4. All-purpose cleaner (Vinegar) -

    • Properties-

      Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Antibacterial, Antiseptic, Excellent cleaning agent, Natural Deodoriser, Sanitizer, Fabric Softener, Colour fastener, Stain remover, Food Preservative
    • Recipe-

      1. Ingredients –

        a. Acetic acid of 50% concentration

        b. Distilled water

      2. Method -

        To prepare 1 litre of all-purpose cleaner, add 100ml acetic acid to 900ml distilled water.

    • Directions for use -

      Add 1 cap of the cleaner into half a bucket of water to mop the floor or to clean the kitchen platform. In addition, you can add 2 drops of citronella (essential) oil / lemon grass oil / mint oil to ward off flies and insects.

      Please note –

      1. You can also use regular white (cooking) vinegar available in the market.
      2. You can water your plants with the water you used for mopping the floor.

      • Cleaner not to be used on marble floor. It may cause corrosion or leave white marks.

      • In case the cleaner is swallowed by mistake, please drink 1 litre of water immediately

  5. Toilet cleaner (Vinegar)-

    • Properties-

      Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Antibacterial, Antiseptic, Excellent cleaning agent, Natural Deodoriser, Sanitizer, Fabric Softener, Colour fastener, Stain remover, Food Preservative
    • Recipe-

      1. Ingredients –

        a. Acetic acid of 50% concentration

        b. Distilled water

      2. Method -

        To prepare 1 litre of toilet cleaner, add 200ml acetic acid to 800ml distilled water.

    • Directions for use -

      1. Sprinkle baking soda and scrub the desired surface (washbasin, bathroom tiles, bathroom floor and toilet bowl). Add 1 cap of toilet cleaner to half a bucket of water and then wash the scrubbed surface with this solution.

      2. Mix 2 spoons of baking soda with half cup vinegar in a mug & pour on desired surface. Let it sit for few minutes and scrub as usual. You can use the same mixture for scrubbing sanitary fittings and fixtures (other than chromium plated) like taps, showers, health faucets etc. Boring water stains are removed. Baking soda acts as abrasive so taps and shower nozzle holes are cleared resulting in good flow of water.

      • Cleaner not to be used on marble floor. It may cause corrosion or leave white marks.

      • In case the cleaner is swallowed by mistake, please drink 1 litre of water immediately

Liquid Soap and Cleaning Powder

  • Recipe for Natural Liquid Soap-

    1. Ingredients –

      a. Ritha powder/Ritha seeds

      b. Shikekai powder

      c. Vinegar

    2. Method -

      a. Add 2 tablespoons Ritha and 1 tablespoon Shikekai to 1 litre water and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. Strain after the mixture cools. Add 1 cup all-purpose cleaner to this liquid soap for good shelf life (approx 2 months) and store. You can re-use the remains after straining to make a mild liquid soap to clean the kitchen platform or kitchen sink etc.

      b. Soak 6 medium sized soap nuts (ritha seeds) overnight in water. Next morning, crush slightly and add to 1 litre of water along with 1 tablespoon Shikekai. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. Strain after the mixture cools. Add 1 cup all-purpose cleaner to this liquid soap for good shelf life (approx 2 months) and store. You can re-use the remains after straining to make more liquid soap that cleans any greasy surface like the gas stove etc or to clean the kitchen platform or kitchen sink.

    3. Directions for use- Washing clothes in a washing machine –

      i) Take 2tsps each of Shikakai and Ritha powder in an old sock and tie a tight knot. Add the sock to your normal wash load. Add 1 cup of all-purpose cleaner to the softener dispenser of the washing machine. Wash as usual.

      ii) Soak 6 medium sized Ritha seeds for a couple of hours in water. Crush and put the seeds and 2tsps of Shikakai powder in an old sock and tie a tight knot. Add the sock to your normal wash load. Add 1 cup of all-purpose cleaner to the softener dispenser of the washing machine. Wash as usual.

      iii) Pour 100 ml of the natural liquid soap in the detergent dispenser. Add 1 cup of all-purpose cleaner to the softener dispenser of the washing machine. Wash as usual.

  • Recipe for Natural Cleaning Powder

    1. Ingredients –

      a. Ritha powder

      b. Shikekai powder

      c. Baking soda

    2. Method -

      Mix well 2 parts each of Ritha powder and Shikekai powder and 1 part of Baking soda and your cleaning powder for utensils is ready for use. If desired, you can experiment and add lemon powder or orange peel powder.Amala powder & salt can be added for cleaning greasy utensils

Useful Hints

  1. You can fill body wash and baking soda in old salt/pepper shakers or talcum powder shakers for ease of use.
  2. You can re-use old hand wash dispensers for all-purpose and toilet cleaner or for the Reetha + Shikekai liquid soap.
  3. You can also use lemon peel powder, orange peel powder, salt, to keep your house clean or any such traditional bio-degradable items of daily use that have been used by your grandparents that are readily available in every kitchen. Simply experiment away and use!
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