Children pave the way for a plastic-free Bengaluru

In the recent past Bangalore has transformed from ‘garden city’ to ‘garbage city’. The waste issues of Bangalore have now become a national issue. And a major contributor for the same is ‘plastic bags’.

Even though single-use plastic has been banned by the government, it is still sold by shopkeepers and used by people. To do our bit to solve this major cause of pollution, we the children from SJR Verity on Sarjapur Road volunteered along with a few adults, and started an ‘Anti-plastic awareness campaign’ during our summer break.

The anti-plastic awareness campaign kicks off. Pic: Sonika Jindal

We split ourselves into teams and went from door to door to talk to residents. We spoke about a few items for now: plastic bags, “supposedly” disposable paper cups, styrofoam plates and gift wrappings, and gave alternate solutions for these. We showed them pictures of those paper plates that contain a thin layer of plastic which is non-biodegradable, and also difficult to recycle.

We found that a majority of the residents were ignorant of the fact that only 1% of the plastic bags are actually recycled; most of them either end up in landfills or pollute our drains, roads, and water bodies.

We suggested that each resident to carry their own shopping bag, and explained to them the 4R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Residents were also requested to sign a four-point pledge, which was very well accepted. Many residents complained that even though they knew about the harmful effects of plastic bags, they sometimes forgot to carry their own bags.

As part of the campaign, cloth bags were kept near the security gate; residents can use them when they go shopping. Some volunteers were also stationed at the gate in shifts to remind people who were going out to use these bags.

The Green Run: A zero plastic event. Pic: Sonika Jindal

We also organised a green run over the weekend; this received a lot of support from all residents. It was a zero plastic event. Water stations were installed with steel glasses. At the run, we told runners that bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year, and requires 47 million gallons of oil to produce. A plastic bottle can never be recycled back to a bottle, so we also requested them to carry their own bottle and make a greener choice.

The adult show the little green crusaders their support. Pic: Sonika Jindal

Children and adults also took part in newspaper bag making workshop. These  bags were supplied as samples to nearby grocery store, to be used as a substitute for plastic bags. In the coming days, we plan to educate all shops owners in the area to replace plastic bags with cloth or paper bags.

Children listen with rapt attention at the newspaper bag making workshop. Pic: Sonika Jindal

The end result! Pic: Sonika Jindal

Most people believe that larger gatherings cannot be managed without the use of disposables. We plan to host a grand summer fiesta for the apartment, which will be a zero waste event, where we will make sure that no disposables are used.

We also request children in other apartments to start a similar initiative so that we can transform Bangalore back to its former glory as the Garden city.

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