[Guest feature] What goes down your drain?

We like to clean our homes daily. Toilets, floors, tables, kitchen tiles, the dishes we use, the clothes we wear. We use chemical cleaners, soaps, detergents, fresheners, whatnot to have our homes feel nicer and smell sweeter. After all, hygiene is important. These products keep away the dirt, grime, harmful germs and bacteria. And that’s all we expect the cleaners to do- CLEAN. But that’s really not all. There’s a lot more happening when we use and flush them out of our homes.

Let’s start with the effect of chemical cleaners on our homes, and families. Most cleaners in the market today contain toxic chemicals. Go ahead and read the ingredients of some of the cleaners you use at home. To name a few of them- hydrochloric acid, butyl oleylamine, hydroxyethyl. These tough to pronounce chemicals are pretty tough on our health. 

It is these chemical cleaners that are the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution. They release toxic fumes that can prove to be as bad to our lungs as smoking 10-20 cigarettes every day for 10-20 years. Harsh as it may sound, this is the result of a scientific study published by the American Thoracic Society’s Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. And not just our lungs, these toxic chemicals also harm our skin, cause irritability, headaches, and eye tearing. Over time, these side effects become unnoticeable to us as we find other solutions such as pills and drops. 

Things get worse when these chemicals go down the drains at our homes. Let’s take a step back and look at the condition of sewage treatment in India. A huge 78 percent of sewage generated in India remains untreated. Seventy-eight percent. There aren’t sufficient sewage treatment plants (STPs). The ones that are, are heavily loaded or dysfunctional.

Coming back to the toxic chemicals in our cleaners. How do they worsen the sewage treatment problem? When these cleaners are flushed out of our homes, they combine with the rest of the sewage. The chemicals in these cleaners make the degradation of sewage even more difficult. They increase the scale build-up. Chemical degradation is even tougher than sewage degradation itself. 

So where does all this untreated sewage go? In our precious water bodies. The same waterbodies we source the water we use from. In fact, the damage to rivers is now tangible, looking at the foam in lakes and rivers. It also brings significant damage to marine life. In India, 50 species of fish fauna are under the threatened, and 45 under the near-threatened category.

We understand the impact of the toxic chemicals in our cleaners now. On our homes, family, and our cities. Is there anything we can do to make this better? The answer lies in nature. 

Looking back at 20-30 years from now, were these toxic chemical cleaners so prominent? Not really. Families used natural cleaning solutions made of ingredients like reetha, amla, shikakai, lemon, orange peels, so on. These kept toxic chemicals away from our homes and didn’t make sewage degradation difficult. 

The reality today is that we do not have the time to make these different cleaners for all the different reasons we need them for. And we need something more powerful too, given the extent of pollution. We need something that reduces the scale build up in our Sewage Treatment Plants. This is the problem my team and I set out to solve.

The answer was found in bio enzymes. Cleaners made of active bio enzymes, bacteria, fruit extracts, and vinegar can solve the problems we face with toxic chemical cleaners. Fruit peels and extracts offer an excellent culture to help produce more cleaning enzymes as time goes on. Naturally-produced enzymes from food sources break down molecules into smaller pieces. This becomes food for a surrounding bacterial culture that in turn produces more enzymes. 

All of this with no compromise in cleaning capacity. Yes! To our pleasant surprise, we realized that biological cleaners clean just as well as the cleaners that we’ve been using all this while. More importantly, when flushed down the drain, biological cleaners continue to act on sewage they find in the drain lines. This reduces the scale build-up and makes the degradation of sewage easier, helping the rivers and lakes of our cities.

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India's rivers and lakes are its lifelines. A city like New Delhi gets 86% of its total water supply from the #Yamuna River. But we are slowly killing our water bodies. By adding unnecessary #chemicals every day to these #rivers and #lakes, non-stop, in very large quantities. On this #InternationWaterDay, we want to talk to you you about the "Chemicals" in our "Household Cleaners". More than 80% of household wastewater in India goes directly into a water body. Without any treatment. Unfortunately, 20% of the wastewater, that we ARE able to clean – isn't great news either. The wastewater treatment plants are not designed to get rid of the chemicals that are present in our household cleaners. Who knew that we will end up using harsh chemicals in our own #homes. Chemicals that go into the water and eventually enter back in our bodies as food. After all, the water we use to drink or grow our food comes from a river or a lake, in all probabilities. The day I learned that, here's how I saw this. No matter how careful you are, if your household cleaners have chemicals, and they are harmful to everything they are near to.After all, the chemicals are harming not just us as people, but also the planet. Water is a collective resource. At Ekam Eco Solutions, we've created products over the years that help you do exactly that – become more mindful of how you use water.I'm super proud to announce today, CARE Cleaners – an All Natural Range of Household Cleaners – in a refreshing new pack. Check them out 👉 The link is in the bio! CARE cleaners come from fruit extracts, active enzymes, and non-toxic micro-organisms. These are extremely effective ingredients to deep clean surfaces and put away bad odor by working on the source itself. These cleaners include a Floor Cleaner. A Toilet Cleaner. A Multipurpose Cleaner for Countertops, fabrics, and appliances. And an Air Freshener for your living room and cars. These natural cleaners CARE about your health and the planet. They are completely non-toxic and biodegradable; which means that it is safe to use it in any area of your home.But, honestly, I think you and I can CHOOSE to CARE for water on this #WorldWaterDay2019.

A post shared by Natural Household Cleaners (@ekameco) on

We named these cleaners, CARE cleaners. Cleaners that CARE for your home, family, and the planet. More than 3000 families have adopted CARE for their homes as I write this. The amount of good that it does for the city’s waste management systems –  I can almost feel it in my bones. Customers wrote back to us about how they feel being able to clean their homes naturally, and helping save the rivers and lakes. 

To further our cause of helping clean our cities, we launched a ‘Clean Your City’ subscription of all-natural cleaners. If subscribed, a customer essentially commits to keep her city clean for the course of six to eight months. For an amount of Rs. 6000, the customer gets 6 kits of 6 cleaners each. We send them the first one ourselves. Next kit onwards, customers can make their own kits with the products they need. And all this while, we offer a money-back guarantee on the remaining kits. 

Clean Your City subscription is a for the conscious citizens among us. Citizens who choose to CARE for their homes, family, and the planet- all at the same time. We anyway spend ~Rs. 6000 on cleaners in a year anyway. The Clean Your City subscription is a smarter choice if this money can help improve the city’s waste management systems as well.

In fact, you can actually say that you’re cleaning your city and the city’s water bodies when you use CARE cleaners.

Published by Uttam Banerjee

CEO and Founder, Ekam Eco.

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