During the course of the last three centuries, we have incorporated into our daily lives, usage of synthetic materials such as thermocol and plastic. However, inherently artificial materials are not bio-degradable; their disposal is a challenge that mankind is facing. One effective solution to this problem is reducing the usage of synthetic materials and using alternative biodegradable materials in their place.

Vedanshi Bhartia, an Earth5R member recently conducted a Paper Products-making Workshop for this purpose. Starting on the 2nd of May, it culminated on the 9th and took place at the Jaipuria Crossing of Kanpur. The aim of this program was to enlighten the residing children and women regarding the hazards of plastic and which easily available materials can be used in their place.

The first day was spent explaining the children the objectives and importance of this workshop. Starting the next day, Vedanshi expounded the dangers of polythenes and why it is very important to reduce its use. She told them what resources they could use instead of plastic and subsequently taught them how to make bags and baskets out of paper.

On the third day, she introduced a wonderful resource to them called Paper Mache. It is a perfect substitute for the conventional plastic and thermocol. She also taught them how increasing the use of paper and Paper Mache would solve our waste management issues to a great extent. The children along with Vedanshi started making products of Paper Mache under her guidance.

The next day saw them completing the products they had started making a day ago. They also coloured them using her advice on how to make a finished, sell-able product. They also made boxes and trays out of cardboard sheets the same day. She told them that they could earn their livelihood in the future by making such environmentally friendly products. However, it would take lots of practice to perfect them.

The activity was also fun, alongside being knowledgeable. It is the need of the hour to make people aware of the dangers of synthetic materials and to start using Eco- friendly products in their place. Only when this is achieved, will the nature’s bounties commence to recover themselves.

Report by Vedanshi Bhartia, Edited by Anushka Mehta, Photos by Local residents