Say No To Plastic

KNS Prayas

In a world where our life is ruled by plastic at work, at home, at leisure….we cannot think of a time when there will be no plastic. Inspite of its uses & advantages the incredible volume of plastic consumption throughout the world has become a veritable nightmare for an already sensitive environment that might well tip the balance in the future towards something beyond our control & destroy the natural ecosystem ultimately ending in a potentially catastrophic outcome for mankind.

The hazards posed by plastics are numerous. The land gets littered by plastic bag garbage presenting an ugly and unhygienic scene. The “Throw away culture” results in these bags finding their way into the city drainage system, the resulting blockage causes inconvenience. It becomes difficult to maintain the drainage & sewage systems incurring increased cost, creating unhygienic environment resulting in health hazard and spreading of water-borne diseases. This littering also reduces rate of rainwater percolating to the water table, resulting in lowering of already low water levels in our cities. The soil fertility deteriorates as the plastic bags form part of manure remaining in the soil for years.

The following are some of the hazards created by plastic:

  1. Takes 1000 years to decompose into smaller pieces, which will seep down into the soil and release chemicals, which eventually will reach the water supply.
  2. Kills animals in the water when they eat plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish. Builds up in landfills.
  3. Manufacturing of plastic bags is harmful to the environment because non-renewable resources are used (petroleum and natural gas). The manufacturing process itself uses toxic chemicals, pollutes the atmosphere and consumes energy.
  4. The transportation of the billions of plastic bags produced annually means further energy consumption, largely in the form of more petroleum.
  5. Stores give out unlimited amounts of plastic bags for FREE even when the customer doesn’t really need one.
  6. Cost in terms of energy and manpower is greater than the value of the material produced.

The various other alternatives:

  • Use biodegradable bags made from fabrics.
  • Ladies can fold a cotton bag or two into their purses which can be used to quench their sudden urge for shopping.
  • Nylon bags can be used and reused several times.
  • Donate old newspapers and magazines to small scale industries that cut these old papers to make paper bags and packets.
  • Use a wicker basket. (They can make a fashion statement today.)
  • Educate the local retailers on the ill effects of use of plastics.
  • Insist your local retailers to use plastic bags of thicker variety if at all he has to use.
  • Offices can distribute canvas bags as New Year gifts instead of diaries and other sweet nothings.
  • A foldable shopping trolley is another option.

At KNS it is our endeavor to take up a sustainable project with global appeal. As enumerated above we find that an innocuous plastic bag poses multiple hazards that has blown up into a serious environmental issue. We are inspired by the idea of a portable & collapsible cloth bag that can be carried everywhere. This is a two-pronged initiative where we will employ only women in the workforce so that it encourages women empowerment as well as creating an environmental friendly product. For this we have identified the following key point:

  • In collapsed state it should be very small.
  • It should make a statement & therefore should be a stylish.
  • It should be made of biodegradable material.
  • It should be strong enough for multiple uses.
  • It should preferably be water proof.
  • Manufacturing cost should be kept at a minimum so as to keep the SP low & affordable.
  • We need to identify a sector, area or village where these bags can be manufactured.
  • The workers should be women.
  • Raw material & training will be provided.
  • The workers will need to equip themselves with hardware i.e. sewing machine etc.
  • Awareness can be created by holding camps in school.
  • Eventually, retail shops in malls & supermarkets may be contacted to sell these bags to their customers.
  • The revenue will be used to fund other viable social projects.

To make the project viable we need:

  1. Funding.
  2. Identify a unit or workforce.
  3. Identify the right raw material.
  4. Establish a working model.

We request members to come forward with suggestions & ideas.