CHENNAI: "Everybody is talking about the problem of global warming, but I have a solution for it," says N.Barathi and displays a bamboo sapling wrapped like a bouquet.

Having sensed disbelief, he explains further, "Bamboo acts as a carbon sink. It absorbs excess Co2 [a greenhouse gas and cause of global warming] in the air with three to four times more efficiency than any other tree. Which means, the more bamboos we plant, the more Co2 is absorbed and thus we can stop contributing to global warming," he says.

An agricultural scientist, Mr.Barathi worked with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore as assistant professor between 1984 and 1986 and ten years ago started his own tissue culture plant manufacturing company Growmore Biotech in Hosur.

Bamboo, he says, can effectively clean water pollution from septic tanks and factory effluents as it has a natural affinity for nitrogen, phosphorous and heavy metals.

The scientist has developed a variety of bamboo called "Beema Bamboo" which is sterile and therefore does not produce seeds and can live up to 200 years provided it gets water, sunlight and nutrients from soil regularly. Planting this at one's home or garden will benefit generations to come, he says. The scientist has even calculated as to how many bamboo plants Chennai needs to become carbon neutral, that is, to absorb the excess Co2 in the air generated by the city population. "The city needs around 13 million bamboo plants to become carbon neutral," he says.

He arrives at this calculation thus: The city has a population of about one crore, including its floating population. Multiply this with the per capita emission in Indian cities [assumed as 1.33 ton by him] and this amounts to 13 million tons of Co2. One mature bamboo plant can absorb 500 kg (0.5 ton) of Co2. Assuming 50 per cent of Co2 is absorbed by the existing canopy the balance 6.5 million ton of Co2 needs 13 million bamboo plants to be absorbed completely.

In order to propagate this message, Exnora has set up Bamboo Exnora, a wing which would work towards establishing bio-carbon sinks in and around the city by planting bamboos in Chennai Corporation area and other land available in and around the city. "The bio-carbon sinks would be established by agricultural experts using precision farming technology and drip irrigation method for efficient and effective carbon sequestration," a release from Exnora said.

If you want to plant bamboo in your house, contact Exnora Tamil Nadu president Mr.Sethur Pari at 9444067668.