Plastic is widely used in all the three economic sectors of the world due to its numerous practical characteristics like light weight, reaction resistance and flexibility. From food packaging to electronic and machinery components, plastic is part of every thing we use in our daily life. Plastic being a major catalyser in enabling our modern life, impacts of plastic mismanagement paint an unequivocally toxic picture. One of the major threat to biodiversity is mismanagement of single use plastic(SUP). The problem gets predominantly worsened with the rampant use of SUP and throwing them without a concern which block the waterways, endangers marine ecosystem, exacerbate natural disasters and when burnt emit toxic emissions.
Earth Day in 2018 with theme End Plastic Pollution, led to series of discussions on plastic pollution with Tarumitra members from various school and colleges in Tarumitra Ashram. Over several ideas, an idea to imprison SUP in PET bottles to make “ecobrick” was appreciated and agreed, as it can keep SUP stuffed inside PET bottle Segregated and uncontaminated form rest of the waste. This idea to make ecobrick will not allow SUP to contaminate environment, won’t clog the drains, would prevent from going to water bodies, stray animals won’t be able to eat them.
Tarumitra members form various schools have been imprisoning single use plastic in PET bottles and making ecobricks to ensure it doesn’t get into environment to pollute our rivers or oceans. Many educational Institutions have joined the campaign to End Plastic Pollution. In Tarumitra Ashram we have have been receiving pile of these eco bricks since then. As we did not had any infrastructure in our city to utilize/ recycle these single use plastics Tarumitra members decided to build a hut out of these ecobricks. Tarumitra members examined and stuffed more single use plastic in each bottle so a wall could be built out of these ecobricks.
Since last few months few of Tarumitra friends in Municipal Corporation and UNDP have been talking about upcoming Material Recovery Facility in Patna to process plastic waste generated to recyclers in other cities. This Material Recovery Facility is funded by Coca Cola as part of their Extended Producers Responsibility, land is being provided by Patna Municipal Corporation, Technical guideline and capacity building is being contributed by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and UNDP. In February 2021 the Material Recovery Facility for plastic waste was finally up for processing plastic waste. After trial and test for two months this facility is operational and is being managed by “Nav Jagriti” an organization authorized by Patna Municipal Corporation. Mr Ajay Kumar the manager of Nav Jagriti said the facility installed can process five metric tonne of plastic waste every day.
Generally people feel grief when they see their dream house being shattered into pieces, moreover when it’s still under construction. However for me and for every Tarumitra Member who made every effort to built this dream hut in Tarumitra Ashram are celebrating it on occasion of Earth Day 2021. Tarumitra Members are content to learn that their efforts of last three years has taken new leap of circular economy and directly coinciding with SDG 12 “Sustainable Consumption and Production.
UNDP Program Officer for Plastic Waste Management Mr. Arvind Kumar arranged collection of ecobricks from Tarumita on 21 April 2021 and said “involvement of Educational Institution to inspire and enable opportunity for youth and younger generations is crucial as inculcating habits at young age is easier as young minds are more receptive”.
In last 3 years Tarumitra members have prevented nearly 1150 kilograms of plastic waste entering our environment. This number may sound little less than a grain of sand when we see the scale of problem i.e 8 million tonne of plastic entering the ocean every year, however out little efforts are expanding in various cities of India and we are determined to turn the tide right way. Many interns and volunteers are joining the campaign to take it to more schools and communities in Patna in collaboration with UNDP, PMC and Nav Jagriti. Ensure source segregation of plastic waste in Patna and collection of segregated plastic waste by Nav Jagriti for Recycling.