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#GoodNews: Using Waste Water, This Man Nurtures 300 Trees

Concerned about Chennai’s water shortage, Ramalingam uses wastewater from his household to water plants.

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Concerned about Chennai’s water shortage, Ramalingam uses wastewater from his household to water plants.

A huge amount of water gets wasted in India daily, due to the lack of recycling infrastructure and awareness.

However, according to a report in The Better India, a man in Chennai is reversing the trend. Concerned about the city’s water shortage and the need to water plants, T Siva Ramalingam conserves wastewater from his household to use it for watering plants and trees.

The octogenarian has planted around 300 trees so far, which he manages to water by just using the ‘grey water’ from his house.

His Motivation

Ramalingam moved to Chennai in the early 2000s and found the city to be unbearably hot. The fact that there were very few trees in his surroundings made the problem worse.

Ramalingam decided to plant seeds and saplings on the pavements of Coastal Road and Gangai Street in Besant Nagar.

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However, his work hit a snag when he encountered water-shortage in the city. To get over this, Ramalingam started buying water from private water tankers to water the plants, but this ended up costing him a lot of money.

It was then that Ramalingam decided to start using recycled water and figured what better way to get recycled water that his very own house.

He told The Better India:

As there were no trees in the surroundings, the heat made living in my own house unbearable. I thought that growing couple of trees would bring shade and thus cool the house. So out of necessity, I started looking for different ways to get water. Suddenly a brainwave struck to my amazement, and I realized that the water used for bathing and in the kitchen could be used for watering the trees.


Concerned about Chennai’s water shortage, Ramalingam uses wastewater from his household to water plants.
Around 300 trees get watered through waste water from Ramalingam’s house.
(Photo Courtesy: T Siva Ramalingam)
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This idea, if used by each household in the country, can help save thousands of litres of water, daily. The wastewater from households and other such places, which goes down the gutters, can be saved and channeled into watering plants. These plants, in turn, could really help the environment.

Inspired by Ramalingam, many of his neighbours have adopted the practice as well. They too are contributing ‘grey water’ from their houses to water plants and trees.



Concerned about Chennai’s water shortage, Ramalingam uses wastewater from his household to water plants.
The water is released by taps at different points.
(Photo Courtesy: T Siva Ramalingam)
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How Does He Do It?

However, not all the water which is wasted is used for the purpose. Only the water left over from the bathroom and kitchen usage, in other words, ‘grey water’, is used.

This water is channeled into separate drums. Filters are used to prevent any kitchen waste from being collected along with the water. Then, with the help of a small motor, the water is pumped into an underground pipe network, which runs along the street. It is then released though taps and different places.

Ramalingam says that the plumbing cost him just Rs 500.

While some households have already adopted his method, Ramalingam wants municipal corporations to take it up as large scale projects.

He told The Better India:

While millions of litres of wastewater in Chennai ends up in the sea through the sewers, a little change can make a huge difference. By recycling and reusing this water, we could not only nurture millions of trees but also keep a tab on the rising climate change

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  World Water Day   Trees   Recycling 

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