We all know how big a menace plastic is. Various efforts are being put to minimize the use of plastic and after the governments’s ban on single use plastic items, the efforts have increased many folds. Doing their own bit is Telangana’s Mulugu district. Mulugu’s district collector C Narayan Reddy has come up with a unique initiative to get rid of single use plastic- ‘1 kg rice for 1 kg plastic’.
The initiative ran from 16th October to 26th October 2019 and in this duration, the authorities collected 33,200 kgs of plastic. There are a total of 174 Gram Panchayats in Mulugu and the authorities had set up collection points in every Gram Panchayat office.
How did Mulugu carried the unique barter?
The villagers had to bring single use plastic items at the collection point and based on how much they weighed, an equal quantity of rice was given. A lot of people came forward to donate rice for this cause. Reddy and his team were able to collect 450 quintal of rice and Rs. 6 lakhs as donation. With the money collected, the team hired two to three tailors in each village. The authorities asked people to donate any cloth they longer used. The tailor made bags out of those clothes and gave them back to the people.
The initiative has also provided livelihood to women and children. They spend their time collecting plastic waste and submit it to get rice in return. It is also helping the society in two ways- reducing plastic waste and re-using clothes to make bags.
Inspiration behind the idea
The inspiration for this initiative came from a school competition. In Mulugu district, C Narayana Reddy along with his team organized a competition for school students. Students had to collect plastic bottles from their village. Whosoever collected the maximum number, would receive a cricket kit as reward.
In one hour, the students collected around 1000 plastic bottles. It shocked Reddy that just one village collecting such a huge amount of plastic waste. So he decided to conduct a similar activity in the 174 villages of his district.
Mulugu plans to discard single use plastic items in the village. They are also going to associate with an agency which will collect recyclable products from the village and re-use and recycle them.