Intern Ravi Raj making papers out of banana stem at Adivasi Academy. SOURCE: The TImes of India

SOURCE: Jay Pachchigar, Times of India

Story books for school children in Chhota Udepur will soon be published on eco-friendly hand-made paper made from banana stems grown in this tribal area. The initiative will pave a new path of sustainability in publishing after a successful pilot project of making hand-made colorful papers from banana stems.

The Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh in Chhota Udepur has started designing stories in the form of Pithora paintings which will be published in the form of books on these papers. The hand-made paper from banana stem was a result of an experiment done by an intern of the academy during the pandemic.

“I have worked on hand-made papers in the past and since the academy was exploring making yarn or paper from banana stem waste, I started researching about it and made the paper,” said the intern Ravi Raj. He is now training a man how to make these papers.

“Right now, we are designing these story books, but in the long run, the idea is to train banana farmers in the region to make the banana paper. We will be training them and providing them with the technology to make it so that they find a new livelihood out of discarded waste without investing any money,” said Dr Madan Meena, director of the academy.

Chhota Udepur has banana farming in abundance and after one season of fruition, the plant is discarded. “While other plants decompose quickly, banana plants take a very long time to decompose and they do not even get burnt easily,” said Raj.

Banana papers can be best used for documentation and archiving papers as its tensile strength is more than any other paper. “There are various usages of paper besides writing. Papers made from plant waste can be used for packaging, interior and art decoration,” Raj told TOI.

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