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Spring Clean the Green Way!

Spring is in the air! Which plants flower in the springtime where you live?

Our living spaces require regular tidying and conscious care to keep them neat, clean, and clutter-free. The pleasant spring weather can inspire us to do some spring cleaning! But often our cleaning methods can produce waste and pollutants. In this edition of Nature Nuggets, we show you how to spring clean your home in an eco-friendly way.

Step 1: Declutter and downsize

Spring cleaning is a perfect opportunity to audit your possessions. Empty items from one storage unit at a time. Don’t just trash things you no longer want or use or those that are damaged! Follow the mind map below to segregate your things into groups and manage them appropriately.

Step 2: Dust and clean

  • Make eco-friendly cleaning solutions using easily available ingredients. Many commercially available cleaning agents have toxic chemicals and pollute the air, soil, and groundwater.
  • Avoid using synthetic scrubbers, sponges, and microfibre scrub cloths. You can make scrubbers out of coconut coir and other natural biodegradable materials. Old toothbrushes can be used to clean difficult corners!
  • Be kind to any creepy-crawlies you find while cleaning. Use a container and sheet of paper to catch the creature and release it outdoors.

Step 3: Organise

  • Repurpose plastic containers and cardboard cartons to make useful organizers.
  • Stuff a sock with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and cloves, tie it at the end, and place it at the back of a drawer or wardrobe for a pleasant fragrance. No need for chemical fresheners!

Step 4: Establish new habits and systems

  • Pledge to buy only what you need. Write down what you want to buy and give yourself a week to decide if you truly need it.
  • Set aside a place in your home where recyclable items can be collected. Deposit these with an authorised recycler in your city as required.
  • Avoid using chemical air fresheners. Open your windows to air out your rooms. You can also grow certain indoor plants that are known to clean indoor air.
  • Keep your home clean and crumb-free to keep pests away.

Common Name: Bluestreak wrasse

Scientific Name: Labroides dimidiatus

Meet a fish that offers cleaning services—the bluestreak wrasse, or cleaner wrasse. Bluestreak wrasses are abundant in the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific. They set up cleaning stations on the reefs and attract larger client fish using dance-like movements. They then pluck parasites and diseased tissue from their client’s bodies, getting a meal in the process. Their clients include predators such as manta rays and sharks too!

Watch this video to see what happens when a cleaner wrasse breaks the rules!

Did you know that the cleaner wrasse’s cleaning services benefit its entire ecosystem? A study conducted in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, found that a single cleaner wrasse may be visited by over 2,000 client fish in a four-hour period. In places where cleaning stations were experimentally removed for 18 months, fish species halved and their populations plummeted!

Like the cleaner wrasse, your initiative to keep your home and environment clean will benefit everyone. So, why not get started?

Like the cleaner wrasse, your initiative to keep your home and environment clean will benefit everyone. So, why not get started?

Time to check your Nature Quotient!

The relationship between bluestreak wrasses and their clients is an example of:

  1. Parasitism
  2. Commensalism
  3. Mutualism
  4. Competition

Answer to be revealed in our next edition!

Previous edition answer: The correct answer is c. The Greater Adjutant is a scavenger, often found near garbage dumps where it scavenges for food, including animal carcasses. It is also known to feed on insects, frogs, fish, crabs, and small birds.

Congratulations to everyone who guessed it right!

Street sweepers and waste pickers work in difficult conditions. They are exposed to bad weather, dirt, and various chemicals and toxins while working to keep our neighbourhoods, towns, and cities clean. Remember—these environmental champions clean up the litter and waste that other people generate. They deserve our respect and admiration. Pledge to do your part to keep your neighbourhood and city clean. Two things you can do are to never litter and to always segregate your household waste.

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