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Eco-friendly concepts

Eco-friendly products made from coconut shells, jute and recycled paper are in vogue.


MATERIAL SUBSTITUTION is a practice resorted to world-wide to address environmental concerns and eliminate waste, especially when it comes to the tourism industry. The trick is to replace plastic disposables with substitutes that are natural, locally available and environment-friendly. The hotel industry in the beach resort of Kovalam is slowly waking up to the utility as well as the aesthetic appeal of such products. The women in the Venganoor and Vizhinjam panchayats adjacent to the beach resort, have discovered a novel way to replace items made of plastic with eco-friendly products fashioned out of coconut shells, recycled paper and cloth. Products made from coconut shells, recycled paper bags, cloth and jute have already made their presence felt in the resort. The products include items of daily use such as bowls, containers, cups, table-tops, tea pots, soap dishes, kettles, mugs, cups for serving ice-creams and puddings, dessert bowls and multi-purpose snack trays.

These are available in various colours, shapes and sizes. Kalpakam Murali, who has been designing coconut shell products, has achieved a unique blend of utility and craft. Most of these daily use products are hand-made.

The hotel industry has also come forward with innovative ideas to cash in on the demand for eco-friendly products among tourists.


The floating cottages, built with eco-friendly features, have been fashioned exclusively for tourists seeking Ayurveda therapy sessions at the Poovar Island Resort, south of Kovalam. Built using natural and locally available materials with the help of state-of-the-art technology, `Eco-floatel', the eco-friendly floating cottage has all the amenities of a suite in an upmarket hotel.

Each cottage has two rooms with a private deck facing the sea. Its thatched roof is made of grass and cement particle boards beneath the roof wards off the heat. A wind-based ventilation system serves as an air-conditioner, with two revolving ventilators in each room expelling the hot air inside and sucking in cool air from outside.

The rooms have been provided with herbal blinds made of ramacham so that even the slightest breeze brings in a unique fragrance. The walls have been made using seasoned wood and the cots from coconut wood and kanjiram. Energy consumption is limited to 100-W per room with the installation of CFL lamps. A water heater, which works on the power generated from a solar panel, is also provided.

S.A.R.

Photos: S. Gopakumar

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