There is an ambitious effort by Government of India to phase out single-use plastics by 2022. Keeping this aim in mind, the Bhopal Municipal Corporation is on a mission to reduce the plastic waste in the city. For this an initiative #CYOB-Carry Your Own Bag | Carry Your Bottle has been launched focusing on the principles of 4Rs – Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and Redistribution keeping in mind the ease of adaptability and sustainability by the citizens.
Plastic bags are very convenient for carrying any purchased items and have become such an integral part of our lives that we don’t even give a thought about their production and disposal. Similarly plastic bottles contain Bisphenol A (BPA), the chemical used to make the plastic hard and clear. BPA is an endocrine disruptor which has been proven to be hazardous to human health. It has been strongly linked to a host of health problems including certain types of cancer, neurological difficulties, early puberty in girls, reduced fertility in women, premature labour, and defects in newborn babies – to name a few examples. Globally there is a conscious effort on minimizing the usage of plastic (polythene bags and plastic bottles ESP.).
- Decomposition of plastic takes hundreds of years and is a very difficult and complex process. Around the world only 8% plastic is being recycled.
- In fact, it is estimated that up to 10 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world.
- It is estimated that plastic waste generated for year 2016-17 in MP was 50457.07 TPA (Tons per Annum).
- According to a survey out of every 100 cows, 70 cows are dying due to the consumption of polythene bags.
- According to BMC on an average, one person uses 5 to 6 kg polythene bags in a month.
About ‘Carry Your Own Bag | Carry Your Bottle’
Bhopal Municipal Corporation is committed on stopping the use of non-standard, single use (use & throw) polythene & cutlery and plastic bags & bottles. Already ‘Spot Fine’ campaign is going on in order to curb the usage of plastic in the city. All Government offices have been declared ‘Single-Use’ plastic free. However for creating even greater awareness and bringing about a behavioral change in the mindsets of the city people CYOB program has been initiated. This is a step forward to provide sustainable solutions to the problems damaging the ecosystem.
Features of the #CYOB program
- #CYOB is a city-wide program covering all the areas of Bhopal City.
- Under Carry your own Bottle initiative, citizens are required to carry their own water bottles at all times instead of buying plastic bottled water. There are various types of BPA free bottles that citizens can carry such as copper bottles, stainless steel bottles, glass bottles, hot & cool thermoflasks etc.Carrying a water bottle at all times will not only benefit the environment but will also ensure health benefits as the person will remember to drink water regularly. The idea is to provide minimize the consumption of plastic bottles and the litter created by throwing them anywhere.
- Under Carry your own Bag initiative, citizens are encouraged to carry a cloth bag or an eco-friendly bags with them at all times so as to stop the usage of plastic bags when purchasing products. BMC has started centres for making eco-friendly bags. At present these centres have been setup at New market, Gulmohar Colony, Ashima Mall at Hoshangabad Road and 10 No. Market. Tailors have also been made available at these centres. At the centres, citizens can bring their old clothes and tailors make eco-friendly, reusable cloth bags free of cost and give it to the citizens. Various organisations like MahaShakti Seva Kendra are also going door to door for old clothes collection. The idea is to provide maximum cloth bags to the citizens of Bhopal.
- BMC also aims to create awareness by sending its people to residential areas, various commercial areas, sabji-mandis, and other important areas to sensitize people about the problems of plastic and to motivate and encourage citizens to use eco-friendly alternatives. Inputs have been invited from various community organisations and environmentalists to forge a common declaration regarding a host of environmental challenges. Public and Private sectors, students, self-help groups & NGOs have been encouraged to find affordable and eco-friendly alternatives to the plastic waste problem (esp. for single use plastic products) to phase them out completely.
Other Initiatives for Plastic Free Bhopal
Bhopal municipal corporation (BMC) has been pro-actively working towards reduction of plastic usage within the city of Bhopal since a long time now. We have made numerous strides to sensitize people on and have also rolled out many initiatives and are in process of rolling many more initiatives focused on reduction of plastic usage. Some of them are:
- “No to Plastic” Campaign has been recently rolled out which is focused on elimination of Single Use Plastic from the entire city. Innovative banners have been installed across the city, promotional videos and jingles have been made to sensitize people on elimination of single use plastic.
- “Haath Badhao Sheher Swachh Banao” event has been planned for 21-Sep-19 where we will do a mass cleanliness drive across the city at 150 locations in collaboration with local schools, colleges, other Govt. departments, NGO’s, RWA’s. We have initiated a cleanliness ranking amongst local RWA’s, Schools, Hotels in the city to promote cleanliness
- No Plastic Express: A vehicle/bus shall visit all the govt. schools, other relevant institutions as per predefined and well communicated schedule covering all the schools with Government schools as primary target. Idea is that students will collect and bring plastic waste at designated venues/schools where vehicle would visit and students shall also pledge to work towards plastic reduction by signing a petition. Based upon whatever waste is brought to the collection centres, we would provide 2X to 3X times the value of waste offered in the form of stationery products, payment vouchers, etc. Market price of 1 kg plastic is app. 10INR (We have collaborated with a startup named ‘Kabadiwala’ which is incubated by us to buy plastic waste from us). The remaining portion will be matched by BMC as our contribution to promote reduction of plastic. Hence, if a student is able to collect 2 kgs of plastic waste. He/she could earn 40-60INR in return. Based upon the above mentioned facts. This could also be a regular drive.
- 3 Bartan Banks have been setup in the city which provide utensils on rent for public and personal events to promote reduction of plastic usage. Rigorous campaigning for waste segregation and reduction of plastic waste have been going on in the city since last 6 over all media platforms and physical branding on roads We are in process of launching a “Bag bank” at New Market and other market areas where people could rent out bags for a nominal charge
- Plastic free iztima (A weekly market) is organized in the old city areas of Bhopal by BMC
- Bhopal Municipal Corporation has launched a 20-feet floating bottle in the capital’s Lake, which aims to convey a message of cleanliness to the residents.