Techies in Kerala turn weavers for a green cause

2,000 employees of business solutions provider EY Global Delivery Services (EY GDS) are currently weaving eco-friendly coir grow bags on their campuses in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi
The employees of EY GDS engaged in coir grow bags making with training from National Coir Research and Management Institute staff
The employees of EY GDS engaged in coir grow bags making with training from National Coir Research and Management Institute staff

Hand-weaving coir bags may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The task may be more challenging for fingers mostly accustomed to long hours on computer keyboards. But close to 2,000 employees of business solutions provider EY Global Delivery Services (EY GDS) are currently weaving eco-friendly coir grow bags on their campuses in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi, for a greener tomorrow. 

Giving them training is a team from the National Coir Research and Management Institute (NCRMI) that had recently come up with the technology to produce biodegradable ‘e-coir bags’ that are an alternative to harmful plastic grow bags. Under the ‘Threads of Sustainability’ initiative, which is also supported by the Vishwashanti Foundation, the EY GDS employees intend to generate a large number of e-coir bags during the programme. 

NCRMI has deployed around 15 experienced trainers and four faculty associated with its consultancy division for providing training to the ‘techies’. “After developing the e-coir bags last year, we had transferred the technology to a state PSU and two private companies for its commercial production. The recent initiative with EY GDS is part of expanding the use of e-coir grow bags among a wider section of society,” said Abhishek C, director of NCRMI. 

Hearing about the eco-friendly features of the coir grow bags, representatives of EY GDS decided to associate with the project as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. The firm has over 70,000 employees across India of which around 9,000 employees are in Kerala. The 2,000 employees, who are undergoing the training, intend to train their co-workers as a continuing process. Another 100 employees will be trained in making coir mats at NCRMI. “There are plans to either use the bags produced by our team across our campuses in India or distribute it free of cost to vegetable and fruit cultivators who stand for environment-friendly farming practices,” said Pradeep D, Associate Director, EY GDS.

Why e-coir bags?
The bags made of treated cross-stitched coir are long-lasting compared to conventional plastic bags. The key highlight of the bags is the aeration that it offers which enhances the growth of roots and also faster sprouting of new roots. Moisture retention of the potting soil is another highlight of the e-coir bag. The proper growth of roots helps the plants give a better yield than ones grown in plastic bags or earthen pots, according to NCRMI scientists who were behind the project. The e-coir bag is ideal for agricultural practitioners who favour use of bio-fertilisers. 

The bags are ideal for growing vegetables, fruits, medicinal herbs and indoor plants. After use, the e-coir bags disintegrate in the soil through composting. Besides, the plants on the coir bags can be directly placed on pits dug in the soil, avoiding transportation shock.

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