CLEAN-UP AND PLANTATION DRIVE ON WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Earth5R celebrated World Environment Day on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Earth5R by organizing various events within the Powai community. The theme for World Environment Day 2018 is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. Keeping with this theme, the day began at 7:00 am with a clean-up drive at Powai Lake under ACT Powai project. This was supplemented with a plantation drive carried out by a fellow organization, Nisarg. The combined clean-up and plantation drives were carried out by numerous volunteers and community groups (such as the running club, the Rotary Club, and students from Bombay Scottish School). In addition, Dr. Sandrine Maximilien from the French Embassy in India also participated in the morning clean-up under ACT Powai.
The World Environment Day drive witnessed a great turnout with people aware, and willing to tackle the root cause of plastic pollution. The team collected non-biodegradable and plastic waste littered along the periphery of the Powai Lake. The event that was scheduled for an hour, was extended to almost two hours due to the immense quantity of trash in the area. The waste was collected in about 15–20 large bags for recycling. This is undertaken via the BMC which routes the collected trash to appropriate recycling centers.
Earth5R recognizes the significance of recycling waste as a sustainable solution to the plastic menace, rather than directly dumping it in landfills, where it will simply contaminate another ecosystem.
TRACING THE PROBLEM BACK TO THE ROOTS
Post garbage collection, the trash was sorted out to understand ‘What’s in the Bag?’. The trash collected mainly consisted of hundreds of bottle caps, discarded plastic bags, and thousands of small plastic wrappers. Some of these pieces of plastic were so tiny that it was difficult to even pick them up.
Simultaneously, on the other side of the lake, the Nisarg team was planting grafts of numerous trees (including roses, coconut trees, hibiscus, and other trees) to help replenish the lakeside ecosystem. The ACT Powai team managed to plant a total of 120 plants along the periphery of the lake.
A dedicated team of Earth5R will be conducting similar clean-ups every Saturday morning underACT Powai. More hands to help are necessary and always welcome. However, it is important to realize that simply picking up the garbage is not a sustainable solution. The issue of littering and plastic disposal must be addressed at its root through community workshops on sustainable living and maintaining cleanliness.
In addition to the clean-up drive, an Earth5R team visited a marginalized community near Powai to spread awareness about our sustainable livelihood program for women which is an integral part of ACT Powai. The program consists of training women living in these underprivileged communities on making sustainable eco-friendly products out of recycled materials. This serves the dual purpose of creating a circular economy for such products as well as providing an extra source of income for these women.