The Chhota Udepur district administration in continuation with its campaign to reduce plastic waste, organised a day-long fair to exchange plastic waste with items of daily use. In a bid to bring about behavioural changes among citizens and sensitise them towards the use and disposal of single-use plastic, the administration has been taking up various such initiatives. Over 200 people participated in the fair on Wednesday and around 450 kg of plastic waste was collected.
For every kg of plastic, citizens were provided with a coupon worth Rs 70 with which they could buy items like tea, sugar, rice, etc. “We have been working towards making the district plastic-free, but we realised that it is important that the citizens are sensitised well. It is important that waste being generated in households is segregated first and then disposed, which is a more eco-friendly way of disposing waste. Through this exchange mela, our idea was for people to segregate the plastic waste from their other solid waste — as plastic takes longer to dispose — and bring it to us. To encourage them and as a positive reinforcement, we organised this fair wherein they get items of daily use in return,” said Deputy Collector, Mayur Parmar.
The administration now plans to institutionalise the idea and frequently organise such camps across various talukas of the district. “We are exploring possibilities to organise such fairs on a more regular basis, but we need budgetary support and are looking into how it can be allocated from the coming year,” Parmar added. The plastic waste collected at this fair will now be sent to cement companies, who recycle waste plastic to produce cement.
Bhimsinh Rathwa from Chhota Udepur who collected 1 kg of plastic waste over the past one week said, “We were informed through our village sarpanch that such a fair is being organised. We collected bottles, polythene bags, packets, etc. but at the fair, we were also informed how plastic affects the environment and is dangerous for the generations to come. So, irrespective of whether there is a fair or not, we have decided to segregate and dispose the waste and eventually reduce the usage of plastic.”
“This is in continuation with our initiatives for a plastic-free district,” said District Collector, Sujal Mayatra. The district, however, has no consolidated data on the generation of plastic waste from the entire district. “Our focus right now is to reuse and reduce the already generated plastic in the environment. However, along with the collection centres, we will take the initiative to calculate the amount of plastic waste being generated in the near future,” Mayatra added.
Earlier in September, the tribal district had initiated another campaign, Fill The Bottle, to reuse and recycle its plastic waste. From across 200 schools in Chhota Udepur taluka, 8,500 PET bottles were collected by students and filled with other household plastic waste. These plastic bottles were then used to construct a model office space near Pavi Jetpur seva sadan, which will double up as a storehouse for other activities pertaining to the same campaign. The premises which would have otherwise been constructed at a cost of Rs 1 to 2 lakh, was constructed at a budget of Rs 15,000.