Published: 03rd July 2019
Paying school kids Rs 2 per plastic bottle, this Karnataka man is trying to make his village plastic-free
Basavaraj S Bidnal has taken up an initiative to make his village, Anchatgeri totally plastic-free. This is how he's going about it
Every day when the school gates open in Anchatgeri village in Dharwad district, you will see a man holding a huge gunny bag and waiting for children to arrive. All he does is collects the plastic water or juice bottles and a plastic bag from children and gives them ₹2 in return. Basavaraj S Bidnal, President, Gram Panchayat of Anchatgeri has started this initiative from the time schools have reopened. Till date, he has collected over 8,000 bottles from two government schools and he is still short of his target of collecting 12,000 bottles.
Basavaraj explains why he does what he does,, "The idea behind starting this initiative is to make our village plastic free. Initially, we approached every household in the village asking them to give plastic bottles and bags for recycling. Every time, they would ask us to come the next day or next month. We realised that the villagers are not going to provide us with the bottles. Hence, we decided to start it with the children in schools."
Thousands of bottles: These plastic bottles will be recycled and reused for other purposes
Basavaraj and other Gram Panchayat members gathered the teachers and principal and got to know that there are over 650 children enrolled there — every household would have one child going to school. The schools were then requested to cooperate and also educate children about the ill effects of using a plastic bottle. "The first time when I went to classes and told children how plastics are damaging the layers of the earth by not allowing the water to percolate inside the soil, they were shocked to hear it. I also told them about the increase in the atmospheric temperature can cause these plastic bottles to release chemicals in the water stored in it. It can actually have a bad effect on your health. They not only agreed to give those water bottles to us but also created awareness among parents. Now, the trend is changing at homes. Instead of storing water in the bottles, parents have started to store water in steel and brass vessels," he explains.
Alternative to plastic
Since plastic bottles are not allowed in schools, the Gram Panchayat members are spending money from their pockets to buy stainless steel tanks to store water in the classrooms. "Every classroom will get these steel tanks and children can bring steel glasses to drink water from these tanks. Similarly, with the funds that we are being provided by the state government, we will be buying sewing machines for the women. They will be taught how to stitch cloth bags. These bags will be sold at a minimum cost to the villagers," he says happily.
Where do these collected bottles end up
These collected plastic bottles will end up being crushed in the Solid Waste Management plant. Once they are crushed, they will be sent to various plastic roof manufacturing units or they will be used in tarring the roads in the surrounding villages. Basavaraj is happy that his initiative is being appreciated in the surrounding towns. Students from various private institutions have approached him to put up a collection centre to collect plastic bottles and stop it from being used.
Duration taken for the plastic or steel bottles to decompose
Different kinds of plastic can degrade at different times, but the average time for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is at least 450 years. Some bottles take 1000 years to biodegrade!
Bottles made out of steel or tin can be reused and even disposed of — they take only 50 years to decompose
What is the process involved in using plastic to make roads?
The plastics involved in building roads consists mainly of packaging products.
Some of the common plastics used in packaging are Polyethene terephthalate (PET or PETE), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Polypropylene (PP). These materials are first sorted from plastic waste.