The term coconut can refer to the whole coconut palm or the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. Coconut, scientifically, known as Cocos nucifera from the family of Arecaceae and the only species of the genus Cocos, comes in two types.
The fresh green coconut (which contains water and sometimes ‘flesh’) and brown ripe coconut (which contains ‘flesh’ only).
Coconut can be enjoyed as a snack due to its refreshing juice. It can also be used to make oil, toffee, ice cream, biscuit, chocolate, art works (key holders, cups, lockets, etc.), to mention just a few.
There are countless health benefits upon the use and consumption of coconut. Irrespective of one eating the ’flesh’, drinking the juice or consuming it as oil, it serves as a nutritious source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut is also rich in electrolytes, enzymes and minerals which aid digestion and boost metabolism.
Aside the health benefits of coconut to humans, there are also some benefits of coconut husk to the environment to help it “go green”.
When asked how he gets rid of the coconut husk after selling the coconut fruit, Kwame, a coconut seller who has been in the business for about five years, said that, “when I started this business, I used to give the coconut husk to waste collectors at a fee depending on the quantity of the coconut husk”.
“That was quite frustrating because the charge can be demanding but I had no other alternative then”, Kwame lamented. “After a year, I met some kenkey sellers who requested for the coconut husk”, he added.
Kwame expressed that, “I take turns to deliver the coconut husk to them at no cost from me nor the kenkey sellers. I sometimes get free kenkey with fish from them upon my delivery”.
He stated that he has stopped giving the coconut husk to waste collectors.
Kwame disclosed that he was unaware that his action contributed to the sanitation agenda but has heeded to that for three years now due to the fact that it is costless.
In an interaction with a kenkey seller, Madam Korkor, she commended the use of coconut husk to set fire for kenkey preparation. She said that, the coconut husk is dried before use to aid in combustion.
She also added that, “I make use of coconut husk in setting fire for domestic food preparation aside the commercial use”.
According to her, she has two coconut sellers who deliver their coconut husks to her. “I often make use of coconut husk and less wood during kenkey preparation”.
Coconut husk can also be used as a mosquito repellent. Preferably, in homes, coconut husk can be burnt in rooms before bed time to repel mosquitoes. Coconut husk is natural, for this reason, the smoke produced from burning is harmless.
Considering the rise in malaria cases in the country, it will be advisable that most homes make use of coconut husk to help fight malaria as well as promote a greener environment.
Another environmentally friendly nature of coconut husk is its ability to be used as a growing medium. For instance, it can be used to grow flowers such as orchids, roses, et cetera.
It can also serve as a flexible growing material for several other major food productions.
This is associated to its ability to interact with nutrients and hold onto calcium and magnesium while slowly releasing potassium and nitrogen.
These are essential nutrients for plant growth. Coconuts naturally possess a compound that encourages the development of beneficial bacteria, known as lignin.
Coconut husk can also be used as bio fuel which is a source of charcoal.
When processed, coconut husks can be used to produce various house hold products such as carpets and others.
Coconut sellers are entreated to identify people like kenkey sellers who can use these instead of wood in the preparation of fire and give the coconut husk to them to minimise the waste production in the country.