Silent crusader against plastic leads from the front

Silent crusader against plastic leads from the front

Plastic bags of all hues and sizes are found strewn everywhere in the city. These thin plastic carry bags not only litter the city and village roads contributing towards polluting the environs but are also an eyesore. Despite the ban by authorities they are still in circulation.

Zilla Panchayat standing committee president Asha Thimmappa Gowda decided not to be a mute spectator to the increase in pollution due to plastic but decided to instead educate members of the public on the ill-effects of dumping plastic indiscriminately. Thus began the elected representative’s silent crusade against plastic.

Gowda neatly collects all plastic wrappers and bags that come along with grocery and other household items. She then cleans and stocks it in a gunny bag to be handed over to the gram panchayat authorities for safe disposal.

Gowda told DH, “Prior to the gram panchayats collecting plastic, I used to stock it neatly and hand it over to scrap dealers. My husband and I are against use of plastic bags because they cause enormous harm to the environment. We always reuse plastic carry bags for getting household items and also use cloth bags. Even if I eat a chocolate, I bring the wrapper home and thow it later.”

Gowda also picks pan masala wrappers which people eat and throw in the surroundings of her house at Kundadka in Perabe. She brings these home, cleans and dries it before storing it neatly.

Asha was driven to take up her fight against plastic when she noticed a few years ago that a water body that passes adjacent to her farmland had begun to overflow during rainy season. As a result, the arecanut garden remained inundated for three days. “While cleaning the garden, I realised the amount of plastic that had entered the garden along with water and was affecting the growth of plants. Plastic in soil does not allow roots to grow and soak up nutrients,” she said.

Residents dump all the waste tied in plastic carry bags into the water body without realising the harm it causes. “In fact, in Balpa village (which comes under Guthigar ZP constituency represented by her), where Sansad Adarsh Grama Yojana is being implemented, shopkeepers have been entrusted with the responsibility of keeping their surroundings clean.

“Chocolate wrappers and pan masala wrappers thrown by the public in front of shops need to be collected by shop owners. If all of us change our mindset and stop dumping plastic wrappers in our surroundings, plastic will no longer be a menace in the country,” Asha said.
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