Post the recent ban on environmentally hazardous plastic, the city started adopting other alternatives, albeit slowly. Commercial establishments like hotels and restaurants were seen switching from plastic products in a concentrated effort to weed plastic out from the ecosystem.
However,the ban on plastic lost steam and took a setback with the exemption for 50 micron bags from the stipulated conditions.
People still have single use plastic bags, containers and bottles at homes that haven’t been discarded yet. The authorities lacked appropriate measures to ensure the collection and disposal before the implementation of the ban.
Pitching in to help weed out plastic from the city, Angholichi Goli, a city-based environment conscious NGO stepped in.
“It’s over a month since we started the initiative of exchanging saplings with plastics, starting off at Mumbai,” says Madhav Patil, President, Angholichi Goli.
“Our team with support from a college in Goregaon started the campaign to encourage people to bring their plastics stored at their homes and deposit it with us, in return, as a token of appreciation, we give them saplings.
“We chose Mumbai as the first city as it houses powerful people who have the authority to make a change and we wanted them to realise the ground reality. Moreover, we wanted to encourage young people to work for this cause, hence the choice of a college.
“On the first day of the ban, the government fined many individuals and shops for possessing plastics, but, soon after that we hardly saw any action. People are still using plastic bags and every home will still be having at least 20 bags lying around.
“This is also because people do not know where they can dispose these items. The government should take the initiative and build awareness. Even the people who are environment conscious end up dumping their plastics in dustbins which eventually leads to a problem of segregation. Hence, we started with this initiative,” adds Madhav.
The NGO aims at encouraging the youth to be more environmentally conscious. From their first campaign at Pimpri Chinchwad, they were able to collect nearly 650 kilograms of plastic.
“We gave the collected plastics to the PCMC (Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) who really didn’t know what to do with all this. This clearly reflects the lack of proper guidelines for disposal of the collected plastic waste. It has just been dumped and stored there.
Seeing this lack of preparedness from the authorities, we decided to collaborate with another NGO and a company that takes plastics to generate fuel and other products after they are recycled.
“Whatever little we earn from that, we will donate to the garbage collectors who have been tirelessly segregating tonnes of waste material.
“Our initiative of giving saplings to plastic donors is just a way to encourage people to refuse plastic and weed it out from their houses. The saplings too have a cost that is borne individually by the NGO volunteers.
Collecting the plastics is important for us, hence we do it for the environment. People should be willing to give up on plastics themselves without expecting anything as reward. Anyone from the city can contact us if they want to donate plastics collected,” he urges.
Angholichi Goli, has also taken up initiatives like bath pill or skip a bath to save water and have nail-free trees with a motive to preserve them from harm during their growth phase.
Taking a cue from the celebrated scientist, Jagadish Chandra Bose who established that plants are living organisms and feel pain, this NGO is working hard to preserve our trees from damage caused by sharp objects like nails etc.
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