New Delhi: “Not a single day goes by without using any kind of plastic item, especially single-use. When I am eating out, I am served in plastic plates, and bowls. Every time I order a shake or coffee, it comes with a plastic straw in it. The shampoo and oil I use is packed in a plastic bottle. In our house, we have plastic water bottles and the worst, a big plastic bag filled with truckloads of plastic bags. But today, is going to be different because I have taken a ‘Plastic Upvaas’”, says 21-year-old Premanshu, who has just started his battle against plastic.
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Plastic Upvaas (Abstain) is an initiative by Chintan, an Environmental Research and Action Group, and Canada in India (High Commission of Canada) that urges people to live without single-use plastics for a day and then give up one single-use plastic, forever. For the campaign, December 12 is being observed as Plastic Upvaas or Plastic Free Day. Talking about the initiative, Chitra Mukherjee, Head of Programmes, Operations, Chintan, says,
India discards 15,000 tonnes of plastic everyday which is 1500 trucks of plastic waste each day. Delhi generates the most plastic waste (689.52 tonnes). Plastics can only be recycled 2-3 times so it is high time we move towards reducing our plastic consumption than recycling. For the same, we have initiated the campaign where we are asking people to give up one single-use plastic item. We are asking people to take a lifelong commitment, starting from today.
Plastic per say is an issue, but since single-use plastic is 50 per cent of the problem, waste warriors have decided to focus on that first and then move towards other plastic items.
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Take #PlasticUpvaas And #BeatPlasticPollution
An individual can take Plastic Upvaas in two simple steps-
1. Choose one single-use plastic item to give up. That one item can range from plastic bags, straws, cutlery to plastic sachets (shampoo, ketchup and others), bottle and packaging.
2. Take the pledge on Facebook.
An Upvaas or giving up something is a form of prayer, a way of pleading to Gods to make things better. It’s an old Indian tradition. We need to revive it to save the planet from being suffocated by plastic menace. It isn’t too much to ask from anyone, says Bharati Chaturvedi, Director, Chintan, explaining ‘upvaas’.
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In the first phase of the campaign which is spread over a period of one month, the team aims to get 5 lakh pledges. On ground, the team plans to visit 10 schools, 10 corporates, reach out to 2,500 RWAs and others.
We will be holding sessions in different schools, colleges, institutions, where we will tell why single-use plastic is bad and how an individual can ditch it. For instance, instead of purchasing a water bottle every time you are out and wish to quench your thirst, you can carry a water bottle with you. Also, remember, not everything has an alternative or requires, like, plastic straws, says Chitra.
So which plastic item are you willing to give up? Tell us in the comments section.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.