This Karnataka fifth grader took 1,000 used plastic bottles and used them as planters for saplings 

Shabnam C S from Mandya speaks about her initiative to reuse plastic water bottles for a good cause — to plant saplings. She has already reused 1,000 of them and collecting 10,000 more bottles 

Recently, fifth grader Shabnam C S watched a heartbreaking video of a stray dog that had been starving for several days because its head was stuck in a plastic container and it couldn't get out. Luckily for that dog, some good Samaritans rescued it and freed it from the plastic menace. But that only got her thinking about the countless animals around the world that could not be saved due to plastic consumption. She realised that most people throw plastic waste away carelessly and a large amount of this waste is from plastic water bottles.

That's when the idea of reusing water bottles came to her mind. This prompted the student from Mandya to collect more than 1,000 plastic water bottles to reuse them in a creative way. While there are many ways to reuse these bottles, Shabnam chose to go the green route by planting different saplings and creepers in them. "It is not enough that only the government takes up steps to reduce plastic usage. What can we do with the existing plastic? To do my bit, I started collecting waste plastic bottles from August 2019," she says.

Shabnam approached people in her locality to give her their plastic bottle waste instead of disposing them. At the same time, she also went to shops that buy trash from people. They too gave her some water bottles. She says, "When I got enough number of these bottles, I started planting different saplings like ornamental flowers and creepers. Apart from using soil, I also use organic manure to grow these plants. I have created a small garden in my house with these plants and have even hung many of them around my house. My family, friends and neighbours are happy to see what I am doing."

You can do one of this bottle magic at your home also

Although planting saplings in water bottles isn't something new - many people across India have done this before - and this little girl knows it, what makes her special is the decision she took to effectively reduce plastic pollution and her will to create awareness among the public. "It was not enough for me to create such plant bottles and hang them in my house. I felt that the time had come to tell people about my initiative and request them not to use plastic water bottles and instead use steel or other types of bottles as an alternative. During the weekends, I spend my time in different places and show people how I've reused the bottles. The response from people has been quite positive so far."

Not just creating awareness among people, Shabnam has donated most of her reused water bottles to people. Her principle is simple, 'Donation and Adoption'. "These plants are living creatures though they can't speak. Hence, I have asked people for some of the saplings that I have grown and many have come forward to do so," says Shabnam who had also put up her stall at the recently held 107th Indian Science Congress. Now, her goal is to reuse 10,000 more plastic bottles so that she can reduce the burden on the landfills.

Shabnam with the support of her parents has created a tiny garden of bottles at her home

She also creates awareness about it among the tourists who visit Srirangapatna

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