“What difference can one plastic bottle make?” is what the entire population on the planet thinks. And each of those bottles is now choking up our ecosystem slowly.
Researchers estimate that more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the early 1950s. About 60 per cent of it has ended up in either a landfill or the natural environment. If current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050, says the Facebook post of Project Mumbai, a not-for-profit organisation actively involved in many community clean-up drives.
Project Mumbai is now back with their successful recyclothon. Their ongoing campaign — ‘Plastic Recyclothon: Ek Baar Phir’, flagged off on 2 October and to go on till 8 October, has already seen more than 1.25 lakh people volunteer to give away their plastic waste.
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Shishir Joshi, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Project Mumbai says, “The response to this has been beyond what we imagined it to be. Our phone lines have been ringing non-stop and the community participation has been truly overwhelming.”
The idea behind this is to reiterate that plastic waste can be recycled into things of everyday use like pens, notebooks, benches for public spaces, and even large waste bins for societies.
We give a cloth bag to every donor who contributes towards this, to urge them to stop using plastics. The next time you step out, ensure that you are carrying the cloth bag just so that you do not feel tempted to pick up the plastic bag that your local vegetable vendor might give you, he says.
Last year, Project Mumbai created benches out of the discarded plastic waste.
Shishir informs that this year they have asked all the schools and colleges part of the Plastic Recyclothon to make plastic monsters (Daanavs), which will be symbolically brought down on Dusshera. Every child from the schools who donates will be given a plastic pencil in return too.
“We are also giving large garbage bins made out of donated plastic to the Mumbai societies who have come together and donated plastic,” adds Shishir.
Another interesting aspect of the campaign is that the students and faculty of J J School of Arts, Mumbai will be turning the donated plastic into works of art to be installed across the city. “We are also planning to put up at least three pieces of such artwork in different parts of Mumbai, with a clear message to Refuse, Reuse, and Recycle,” informs Shishir.
The larger intent of this campaign is to bring about a behavioural change in people, says Shishir and also added that they are providing for a free pick up of the plastic from the houses for maximum participation.
While Project Mumbai is looking to collect plastic once a month, their aim is to move towards a bi-monthly pick-up cycle.
“What we are managing to achieve is a social transformation and this is what Project Mumbai has always striven for. To the people of Mumbai, our slogan is simply, Mumbai ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega,” Shishir shares.
Shishir and team are planning to scale up this initiative in as many cities across the country as possible. “As a first step, our effort is to create a regular monthly pick up so that we make this initiative sustainable and then, across as many cities as possible. We would be happy if people, and institutions, who are the real custodians, from different cities reach out to us to show interest from their cities.”
He says, “We have also invited citizens to come forward with ideas and suggestions on what can be done with the recycled plastic.”
For more details about Project Mumbai, you can visit their website here, or reach out to Shishir at shishir@projectmumbai org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)