There are those who use plastic bags (saying they had little choice), those who re-use plastic bags and then those who refuse plastic bags.
Or so I thought, till I met Trupti Godbole and heard of the work she was involved with in her neighbourhood.
Two years ago, as part of the Republic Day celebrations organised by their Residents’ Welfare Association – Uthkarsh – Trupti and her neighbour Sarita Kotagiri listened to the invitee speaker P Venkatramanan of RISE (a resident association in Indiranagar) talk about the menace and danger of using plastic bags. Shocked to hear that on an average, people use 15-20 plastic bags every day, they immediately pledged not to accept plastic bags. For the last two and half years both of them have refused every single plastic bag offered to them!
Sarita, Trupti and Suresh Kumar of Uthkarsh have managed to include the issue in the mandate of their LB Shastri Nagar RWA, and drive the anti plastic campaign along with other members of Uthkarsh. LB Shastri Nagar is situated near HAL Main Gate. A door-to-door campaign, poster making competition for children are only some of the initiatives undertaken by them to increase awareness.
However, the journey has not been smooth all the way. People were initially cynical and indifferent. Some felt it would not make a difference. Others made fun of them. A few of them said cloth bags were costly and may not be possible if shopping was unplanned. But this team remained persistent and undeterred. They believe they can see a change in the attitude of at least some people around them. Earlier, even shop keepers in the locality were reluctant to put up posters about the cloth bags. Now they are gradually agreeing to stock the cloth bags.
On Republic Day this year, Trupti and her friends decided to take the campaign one step further. They encouraged many other residents to take a similar pledge. Trupti says she learnt how to stitch simple bags at home after watching Green Bag Lady‘s How to Make A Bag. They then printed a message on these cloth bags and displayed them at the event. Many people came forward, some even donating money, to support the campaign.
They then approached two local tailor shops for scrap cloth. They contacted a local NGO to stitch the bags (so that it could also work as an income generating activity) from the scrap cloth as well as old bed sheets, sofa covers and curtains given by neighbours! To reach out to more people, the group has now made the bags available at a local grocery and vegetable store at a nominal price (Rs.5 – Rs.20).
Trupti and her friends strongly believe that making cloth bags available to shoppers at a price that matches the plastic bags will help change habits. It is tough, they are well aware, but like they point out, cloth bags can be reused and are not a menace in the landfills either.
Just think about it. You could also become a “bag person” in your area. Not just refusing plastic bags but going a step further to make or offer cloth bags as an alternative to the residents
For details contact:
Trupti Godbole, Uthkarsh RWA, LB Shastri Nagar,