Believe it or not – that single-use straw in your cocktail or coffee will be on this planer forever! Next time you ask for a plastic straw with your favourite cocktail, juice or a coffee, ask yourself this simple question – What happens to these one-time used items after you discard these? The answer is simple; from dustbins it straight away makes its way into the landfills, where it stays for hundreds of years. Just in case you don’t know why – like any other plastics, these items are also non-biodegradable and never get decomposed completely; they take a lot of time to breakdown completely. So, what’s the problem – the issue is that in India, all the landfills are on the verge of or exceeded their lifespan and are overflowing hazardously. We are not helping in solving this crisis situation. Do this simple math for yourself, nearly 1.2 billion population, if we all discard one item daily like straws then imagine how many non-degradable items will be lying in our landfills. But now Kerala, is showing the nation how ditching plastics and items like straw is not a difficult task.
The hotel industry in the state has started the ‘Refuse the Straw’ campaign on the occasion of World Environment Day, under the campaign the multi-billion dollar or rupees hospitality industry has decided to dump the usage of plastic straws and instead opt for options which are more environment friendly like paper-straws and cane stir sticks.
The green initiative is part of Haritha Keralam mission and comprises The Kerala Travel Mart, which includes over 650 hotels across the state, and the Approved and Classified Hotels of Kerala (AACHK), housing some 120 members.
Plastic is harmful for the environment, we wanted to save our already depleting planet and that’s why decided to do our bit towards the environment. We have not only stopped the usage of plastic straws but also have made our entire hotel plastic free zone, we use silver foil for packaging, use cloth bag instead of plastic bags. Ditching these items is not such a big task, see if we can do it each and every one can do it, said Faisal N, Hotel Manager of Grand Hotel.
On an average hotel in Kerala uses around 30 straws every day, and some 3.3 million straws are discarded to the landfills every single day. If we can avoid using this tiny killer, we will be able to save our planet. Less waste is always better than more waste, explained another Hotel Manager who is affiliated with AACHK.
Thought Process Behind This Green Mission
There are over 500 million plastic straws that are being dumped across the country every single day, and only a fraction of it gets recycled, worried about this grim statistics the association decided to act upon it.
About Haritha Keralam Mission
It is a comprehensive project in Kerala to clear and remove waste from all the water bodies – ponds, rivers, lakes and streams.
It’s not just the hotels association that have come up with this initiative; in Kerala every sector is trying to go plastic free. For example, Education sector has passed a mandate for students that they will only use fountain pen and not plastic pens. In Kannur, all hotels started a scheme – bring your own tiffin box for takeaways and get extra 10 percent discount on your food bill. All these campaigns are part of Green Kerala mission and the ultimate aim is to reduce waste from Kerala and make it Swachh, concludes District Collector of Kannur District, Mir Mohammed Ali.