District Hoshiarpur has undertaken a small and unique initiative to generate a livelihood based solution for the problem of excessive use of plastic
The administration under Additional Deputy Commissioner Development has converged the scheme of State Rural Livelihood Mission, Mission Tandarust Punjab, Jal shakti Abhiyaan and Ghar Ghar Rozgar to achieve a movement towards replacement of plastic bags with cloth bags in rural areas
Under this initiative, old/discarded clothes are taken as donations from people of the village and are given to local SHGs who in turn use them as raw material for creating stitched cloth bags which is given away to the same people of the villages. Simultaneously, they are also made aware of the dire need of reducing plastic use and it’s harmful effects to air, water and soil, and overall environment. They are educated on how plastic gets accumulated in the layers of the earth preventing water to percolate down leading to the falling of the water table even further.
We believe such local solutions are extremely crucial to revive the water table in a state like Punjab where a 110 blocks out of a 150 are dark/ exploited blocks. All of this is done while generating local jobs to rural women who need this push the most. Coordinated efforts with municipal corporation Hoshiarpur are already underway to take it to urban areas as well.
Self employment for 90 rural women who are part of 9 SHGs has already been generated in Bai Bidiyan village in the district. This village was chosen for being the pilot village for this initiative. The administration plans to take this initiative and slowly implement it in all villages of the district as well as in urban areas in due time
Since the state is making a concentrated effort on banning single use plastic from October 2. Maybe such initiatives can provide people with natural non-harmful substitutes like these cloth bags.