Walni village in Nagpur is using its plastic waste as a solution to its water shortage by making it into plastic sheets for rain water harvesting.
When farmers in Walni village in Maharashtra’s Nagpur district observed that their ponds and lakes were not retaining water, they found the perfect solution. Their plastic waste.
Walni village had 30 ponds and lakes, none of which were holding water. The rain collected during the monsoon season would be gone by the summer, mostly being lost to ground infiltration. This was leaving the ponds scarce and the village with a severe lack of water supply. Seeing no use for the ponds and lake, the villagers began filling them with earth.
Then the villagers had an idea. What if they could put their plastic waste to good use and use it as a means of harvesting water?
The villagers gathered their plastic waste, including things like wrappers and polythene packs, and sewed them together to make huge sheets. They then lined the bottoms of the ponds with the plastic sheets, securing them with a 1-foot layer of soil. They did a trial in March and found that the plastic sheets kept the water from permeating into the ground. Water that would have previously dried up before December stayed until April, and even May.
This simple, yet highly effective method combining the village’s two biggest issues, waste plastic disposal and shortage of water, transformed their problems into their solutions.
Seeing the positive effects of the initial experiment, the method was extended to other smaller ponds across the village. Soon, everyone was on board. “Every Sunday we collect the plastic and hand it over to the women to make big sheets by stitching them together. We are in the process of laying these sheets in other farm ponds,” the Times Of India quoted the villagers as saying.
Previously, the village had been burning their plastic waste as it was too costly to travel to the nearest dumpyard. As well as the damaging environmental impacts this method of waste disposal was having, it was also becoming a big health hazard for the villagers living there. Not only is this initiative helping to conserve precious water then, it’s also helping to tackle a multitude of the villages other issues.