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Marches Moirangthem: School Teacher Revolutionizing Charcoal Production Without Cutting a Single Tree

by Aribam Bishwajit
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Marches Moirangthem: School Teacher Revolutionizing Charcoal Production Without Cutting a Single Tree

In the midst of an alarming trend where numerous individuals relentlessly contribute to environmental degradation through activities such as indiscriminate deforestation for poppy cultivation, logging for furniture production, and the unbridled burning of wood for charcoal, Marches Moirangthem emerges as a commendable outlier. Amidst the widespread destruction of our natural surroundings in the pursuit of livelihoods, Marches has chosen a path that not only refrains from inflicting harm on the environment but also actively contributes to its preservation.
Marches’s innovative approach involves the utilization of waste papers, cardboard, and rice husks to produce charcoal, marking a significant departure from conventional methods that involve the wanton destruction of forests. This ingenious initiative not only addresses the pressing issue of waste management but also provides a sustainable alternative to traditional charcoal production, which often involves the exploitation of natural resources.
For the past many years, recognizing the urgent need to arrest environmentally detrimental practices, the Manipur Government has been diligently exploring alternatives for poppy farmers, historically entangled in activities that perpetuate environmental degradation. Marches Moirangthem’s initiative serves as a timely and laudable effort to counteract this destructive trend, offering a viable and eco-friendly livelihood option for those who have been ensnared in environmentally harmful practices for an extended period.
Marches Moirangthem’s venture is not merely a personal endeavor; it represents a pro-environment initiative that warrants widespread government support. In a comprehensive interview with Imphal Times conducted at his residence in Ningthoukhong Ward Number 6, Marches elucidated on the motivations behind initiating this business. He expounded on how his venture holds the potential to be a catalyst for environmental conservation and sustainable living, addressing both local and global concerns.
Marches, who is also a dedicated teacher at a private school in Ningthoukhong, emphasizes the profound importance of championing eco-conscious initiatives. Seated on a chair, he passionately elucidates his innovative approach to sustainable practices. The genesis of his idea revolves around combating deforestation and the consequential destruction of trees. As he reflects on preventing these environmental threats, Marches unveils his unique concept of producing charcoal that deviates from conventional methods.
Intriguingly, Marches employs rice husks as the raw material for his eco-friendly charcoal. He vividly describes the process, involving the heating of rice husks by transferring heat from a bitumen drum. This alternative not only provides an inventive solution but also addresses the prevalent reliance on wood for charcoal production and furniture manufacturing. Marches fervently expresses his motivation, stating, “I wanted to use something else instead of cutting down trees.”
His inspiration stems from the observation of carbon-rich black particles produced when rice husks are incompletely burnt—a revelation that sparked the idea of utilizing these materials to create charcoal. Drawing from traditional practices where burnt rice husks served as kitchen garden manure, Marches ingeniously repurposes this waste into an environmentally friendly substitute for conventional charcoal.
Delving into the intricacies of his groundbreaking process, the 31-year-old provides a step-by-step account: “First, the carbonization process unfolds, wherein the rice husk undergoes an eight-hour heating phase to yield the essential carbon materials. Subsequently, it is meticulously extracted and cooled through a water-spraying mechanism. The dried rice husk undergoes grinding, and use waste papers, encompassing various forms including cardboard, are soaked for 24 hours.”
Detailing the next stages of his eco-conscious methodology, Marches elucidates, “The soaked papers are then amalgamated with the powdered, heated rice husk, utilizing wheat flour as a binding agent. This mixture undergoes compression, ultimately yielding the eco-friendly charcoal as the end product.”
Undeterred by challenges, Marches innovates further, sharing, “While the resulting product may still be damp, I’ve devised a solar reflector to expedite the drying process. This bespoke solution not only utilizes the sun-dry method but also incorporates a customized solar reflector, showcasing my commitment to efficiency and sustainability in every facet of this eco-friendly initiative.”
Despite his innovative strides, Marches faces a critical hurdle in realizing the full potential of his eco-friendly venture. Having engineered a compression machine alongside collaborators Jyoti Bashu and Thoiba, he acknowledges that, while an individual can currently produce 20 kgs of the environmentally conscious charcoal, financial constraints hinder scaling up production. Priced at Rs 50 per kilogram, the product demonstrates both demand and market viability.
Marches candidly reveals the challenges, stating, “Now, with financial limitations and a restricted production capacity, I find myself unable to meet the growing demand for eco-friendly charcoal. This predicament not only hampers my ability to contribute significantly to environmental conservation but also results in diminished profits.”
In a plea for support, Marches earnestly requests Government intervention, recognizing it as a pivotal factor in elevating production. He underscores the urgency of this appeal, emphasizing the broader objective: “I seek investment to enhance production capacity and replace the prevailing trend of wood-based charcoal production with the sustainable approach of utilizing paper waste and rice husk.”
His venture not only contributes positively to the local community but also sets a compelling example for a greener and more sustainable future. The Manipur Government’s endorsement and support for Marches Moirangthem’s environmentally conscious enterprise would not only validate his efforts but also contribute significantly to broader initiatives aimed at preserving our planet for future generations.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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