In many homes across Srirangapatna, Karnataka, one might come across vibrant planters with fun patterns, upcycled from discarded plastic bottles. The entire town seems to have undergone a green makeover with bottled houseplants adorning almost every other door and wall.
What is most astonishing is that all of this is the work of an 11-year-old girl.
Shabnam CS, a fifth-grader from Jyothi Niwas School in Srirangapatna, has been collecting discarded plastic bottles for the past three years, and turning them into beautiful plant holders—a skill she learnt from her mother. In the last one year, she has distributed over 1000 such plant holders across the town.
Filling every inch of her home with plastic bottle planters
“I have loved painting since I was a child. One day I painted on a few plastic bottles, and my mother suggested that I use them to plant saplings and taught me how to make plant holders from these bottles,” Shabnam tells The Better India.
Elaborating on her words, her brother Suhail continues, “My sister picked this up as a hobby around three years ago. Learning from my mother, she would paint the bottles in different colours, cut out the middle part and add soil inside. Then she would plant seeds on saplings in it.”
“If you visit us someday, you will find these bottle planters in every inch of our home. Everything is her work,” Suhail chuckles.
It is worth noting here that Suhail himself is the recipient of the prestigious Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (National Child Awards For Exceptional Achievement), for designing a Rs 2 paper strip that can diagnose pre-symptomatic malnutrition.
But, now, he spoke to The Better India simply as a proud brother.
Donation & Adoption
Once Shabnam became an expert in recycling plastic bottles at home, she decided to expand her efforts.
“She picks up bottles from anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes, if she spots anyone using a plastic bottle and about to throw it away, she immediately rushes to stop them and collects the bottle from them instead,” informs Suhail.
After making plant holders out of these bottles, Shabnam, who is a diligent follower of the motto of ‘Donation & Adoption’ when it comes to the plastic bottles, goes from door to door and distributes them to her neighbours. She has been doing this since August 2019.
Her initiative became so popular that she is now often invited to gift her planters to chief guests and dignitaries at any significant event in the town. Recently, Shabnam got the opportunity to set up a stall at the 107th Indian Science Congress held at Bengaluru in January 2020.
“My target is to make 10,000 bottle planters”
The plucky fifth-grader even makes sure to educate everyone about the importance of recycling and the need to cut down on plastic waste.
“I have donated over 1,000 plastic bottle planters since August 2019. I prepare and donate the planters during vacations and sometimes on the weekends,” says Shabnam.
“Now my target is to make 10,000 bottle planters and give it to everyone!” she excitedly shares.
Shabnam’s parents Salim and Parveen cannot be more proud of her endeavour. They graciously offer their full cooperation in her campaign against plastic and hope that more people listen to her sincere advice.
Click here to know more details about her initiative: https://shabnamcs.com/plast2plant-d
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)