Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Tender coconuts have become increasingly popular as a beverage choice, not just during hot weather as in the past, but consistently throughout the year, particularly in metropolitan areas.

This surge in demand is attributed to factors such as the summer climate, concerns about dengue, and the need to prevent dehydration. Consequently, there is a corresponding rise in the challenge of managing the waste generated by discarded coconut shells.

While coconut husks are biodegradable, their tough nature means they degrade slowly due to their high moisture content and size.

With the increasing popularity of coconut water among urban dwellers, particularly during the summer months, the accumulation of discarded tender coconut husks is becoming a notable nuisance.

Traditionally, tender coconut water has not been popular in the northern region of the country. However, its demand has surged over the past 5-6 years for various reasons. Additionally, tender coconut water offers health benefits, such as having an electrolytic balance comparable to that of human blood.

Additionally, tender coconut water contains sugars, minerals, and small amounts of nitrogen compounds, with potassium being the primary nutrient. Consequently, it helps maintain blood volume and heart health, prevents dehydration, and reduces stress.

With a significant portion of the population becoming health-conscious and following specialized diets like the ketogenic diet, there has been an increase in the consumption of coconut water and related products such as coconut meat and coconut-based ice creams.

Various technologies exist to reuse and creatively manage coconut husks to create value-added products like sofa stuffing material. However, since only 20% of the coconut is edible, the remainder must be discarded. This highlights a fundamental issue in waste management: the lack of effective source segregation of waste.

Nevertheless, waste management remains a pressing issue, particularly in the metropolitan areas of the country. Civic bodies need to improve both their infrastructure and their level of commitment to effectively address this challenge.

Coconut Industry: All we need to know

India is the second-largest coconut-producing country in the world after Indonesia, contributing approximately 31.45 percent of the global production in 2021-22. As a result, the majority of coconut farmers are based in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Despite the significant surge in demand for coconuts and their by-products, such as oil and sweets, the average income of these farmers remains exceedingly low. This situation exacerbates economic inequality and social divisions.

Another problem adjoining this is the significant portion of the coconut treated as waste, particularly the shells, which are often discarded and burned in incinerators. This practice results in substantial greenhouse gas emissions.

Amendments We Welcome

Tender coconut husk consists of fibers containing 30-42% lignin. Drying a tender coconut husk for use as a fuel source takes six months. As the quantities increase in medium and large cities, therefore new technological interventions are nothing less than eminent.

First, coconut husk contains approximately 30-42 percent lignin and around 54-65 percent cellulose, both of which have significant industrial applications. Therefore, separating lignin and cellulose from coconut husks proves beneficial in multiple ways.

Then it can be converted into lignosulphonate, as mentioned by the Coir Board of India under the Ministry of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises.

Additionally, the urgent need to reduce emissions by 2030, coupled with concerns about energy security, underscores the importance of accelerating the adoption of renewable energy sources. The utilization of biomass waste for fuel production presents an alternative avenue for power generation, driven by energy policies and a growing recognition of the significance of green energy.

One of the oldest methods, which remains highly effective, involves using coconut shells to produce charcoal. Due to their high volatile-matter content and low ash content, coconut shells are considered among the finest sources for charcoal production.

Nevertheless, the briquettes method for producing coconut shell charcoal appears to be more environmentally sustainable compared to the drum method.

A briquette machine is employed to crush coconut shell charcoal, which is subsequently molded with a natural binder. Coconut shell charcoal briquettes serve as excellent biofuel alternatives to traditional coal, being both easy to ignite and virtually smokeless when burned. In addition, they generate more heat than standard charcoal.

As the economy is growing and so is the need for sustainability, henceforth pursuing the goal of reducing coconut waste, the future of our environment seems a bit brighter.

By Alaina Ali Beg

I am a lover of all arts and therefore can dream myself in all places where the World takes me. I am an avid animal lover and firmly believes that Nature is the true sorcerer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *