'Every drop counts'

'Every drop counts'

Actor Juhi Chawla

Actor Juhi Chawla talks to Anupama Ramakrishnan about how she is making a difference to the environment and how every individual can make the world a better place to live in. 

What we could do everyday to save the planet... 

It's amazing how the words of great men from the past stand true even today. Mahatma Gandhi had said that if each one of us cleans five to 10 ft around our house, the whole world would be clean in five minutes. If each one of us decide to take up the cause of environment to some extent, this world of ours will be clean. 

A city like Mumbai has 20 million people and about three to four lakh BMC workers. If each one of us starts flinging five pieces of paper everyday on to the streets or outside our homes, just imagine the toil BMC workers have to put in to pick up those pieces? But if 20 million of us decide to pick up three pieces from the streets, put these in a bin, be responsible and use less plastic, the work would get done so easily. 

We should understand that we are doing it for ourselves, for our children and the future generation. You may or may not have money for them in the bank but if you can clean up your environment, you are leaving them with better air to breathe, better water to drink and soil which has not been poisoned.  

Saying no to plastic bags

When I came to know of the devastating effect of plastic on our environment, I was so shaken that I decided to clean up my act. I started with my kitchen. I took out everything -- all the jars, bottles, utensils -- every piece of plastic was going to leave and never coming back. I replaced these with steel, glass and ceramic. I instructed my staff not to bring plastic bags into mys house. But I would still see some of them carrying a plastic bag. I then realised that this was not going to work so quickly. I told them the next time I see them with a plastic bag, it's 20- on my table. And within days, they all transformed. 

Storm in a toothbrush

Every plastic tooth brush that we have used since childhood is still floating on the earth. Now multiply that with six billion people. All these plastic tooth brushes are still on the planet -- either in the oceans or on land or stuck in some animal's gut. That is why I decided not to use a plastic toothbrush. I replaced it with a bamboo toothbrush. There's nothing in the world which will make me go back to a plastic toothbrush. I started making these little changes. When l am in a hotel, I ask for water in a glass bottle. And if there is no bottle, I ask them to pour water in a jar and keep it in my room. I do not want consume water from dirty plastic bottles. 

I started following this pattern in my office and my husband's office and I requested 'Red Chillies' also to do that. So even they have given up plastic bottles in their offices. 

Towards a clean and green stadium

As part of KKR, when I had gone to the stadiums, I was shocked to see the amount of plastic that is left behind after a match. The place is littered with  cheer items, inflatable plastic balloons ets. At the Eden Gardens, on a good day, you have 61,000 people. So imagine if each one of them starts tossing three to four pieces of plastic, how much plastic is left behind at the end of four matches? All this ends up in a landfill. So last year, we started a movement and this year, there were no plastic cheer items. We had our flags made of natural material and the sticks of our flag were made of recycled paper. We also planted trees for every six that  was hit in the Eden Gardens.  

So each one of us, whoever you are and whichever field you are in, you can make a great change. 

Every drop counts.