The Earth5R team conducted the tenth Powai Lake Cleanup to pick up the plastic around the lake. It was pouring rain, but this did not stop them from accomplishing their mission. With each clean-up, the amount of plastic decreases in our environment, making it that much closer to being restored. Also, with each plastic item collected, a new job and opportunity is created for someone else.
CONNECTING WITH LOCAL RECYCLERS
Ever since the Powai Lake clean-ups began, Earth5R has wanted to ensure that the waste collected is processed and not sent to a landfill, as that does not solve any issues. One way of accomplishing this is by connecting with local waste pickers and recyclers. These people are the backbone of a sustainable community. There is no formal system of recycling here in Maharashtra, even though it is extremely important. Therefore, individuals have taken up the task themselves as a means of earning a livelihood.
Earth5R has recently been trying to connect these recyclers with local residential buildings so that they can ensure plastic collection here, in an efficient matter. This way they can enter the supply chain and become a part of the formal economy.
Saurabh Gupta, Earth5R founder, connecting with local recycler.
NOTES ON THE RECENT PLASTIC BAN
Now that most single-use plastics are banned in Maharashtra, this will hopefully decrease the amount of plastic we see getting dumped in Powai Lake. Along with this, recyclers are needed in the community, now more than ever. This is because as we continue to extract the existing plastic from the ecosystem and our homes, we must dispose of them somehow.
It is a well-known fact that plastic never fully biodegrades. Due to this, we definitely cannot send them to a landfill. In fact, even so-called biodegradable plastic or ‘bioplastics’ are not a sustainable better alternative.
Earth5R has decided to follow other’s efforts in upcycling plastics into new products – such as creating benches from melted plastic bottle caps. Plastic does not have to be an issue if it is handled correctly! Through the efforts of this plastic ban and the local recyclers, there is hope for the future of the environment.
Not missing a single piece of rubbish.
By: Emily Griffin and Anindita Mukhopadhyay