April 25, 2016RockyFeet

Rise above Plastic

Introduction

Imagine you are in a place where the air is clean. You are surrounded by beauty. There is absolutely no object or creature that seems out of place.
Where are you?
If you find that you have imagined yourself out of the city and into a quiet village or a dense wilderness or peaceful mountain, it is because of the way of life in the cities. We use up more and more resources and generate more and more waste to the point that we outrage our aesthetics and toxify our environment. With the human population growing exponentially larger the number of pollutants we generate can only increase. So that it is harder and harder to find a place that is truly free of pollutants.
The king of pollutants is plastic. It cannot be broken down by any natural process over any length of time. Yet it has only been discovered a few decades ago. But since its discovery, it has come to ingrain itself into every aspect of our lives.
To root out plastic (and indeed any pollutant) from every nook and cranny of the world we need to act now. We must begin by understanding and accept how dangerous plastic waste can be. From affecting wilderness to endangering humans,  this causes harm that is very hard to repair.
We must train ourselves to follow certain principles and reprogram our behavior accordingly. We may then slowly reverse the destructive impact our civilization has on earth by polluting it.

The Concern

Since plastic can not be broken down by natural processes, all the plastic that can be artificially broken down needs to be collected and brought to a suitable location for recycling. The rest has to be upcycled or its use has to be discontinued. The rampant littering that exists certainly makes it hard to bring on a positive change.
From climate change to destruction of habitats and ecosystems – the solution to all these problems can start with taking up conservation as a way of life. The aim of our course is to get students started on this journey because with everyone pitching in we wouldn’t have to imagine an increasingly remote place for cleanliness, beauty and purity. After all, we have but one home – the Earth, and it is in our power to keep it pollution-free.

The solution

Interactive Session – We start of by showing the impact of plastic on wilderness to emotionally engage the students. We then follow the path taken by plastic from source to use to its ultimate destination. We finally learn about 3R and waste segregation so that we can control waste generation at multiple levels.
Workshop – We discuss some specific tips to reduce plastic waste generation. We then learn some creative ways to reuse plastic materials. We discuss how to conduct door-to-door campaign to spread the message.
Door-to-door Campaign – This ensures community level outreach of the program with potential for collecting signatures from neighbors to affect positive change by contacting the appropriate local authorities.
Clean Up Drive – Further physical engagement to reinforce the message of the program and to understand the effort involved in cleaning up after someone litters.

Implementation

Our program entitled “Rise above Plastic” is designed to reach young students at their schools and teach them to recognize the threats posed to our world by pollution and take positive steps to counter their effects. We shall take the following steps –
A) An interactive session of about an hour.
B) A workshop of around two hours.
C) Door-to-door campaigns around the school.
D) Clean Up Drive in and around the school campus.

Expected outcome

At the end of the program, we expect the students will have developed some appreciation how their actions impact their environment. They will engage in the program not only as individuals but also at the level of their community. Finally, we hope that they will develop a sense of responsibility for the well-being of all living things around them and become a part of the global initiative to conserve the most fragile of ecosystems.

Related Work Progress

We have run a pilot for the program in Mumbai. (@Baro PLEASE ADD SOME DETAILS)
We have also reached out to two villages in the fringes of Sunderbans, our very own mangrove reserve and done similar work with adults to raise awareness.
Please see the http://www.rockyfeet.com/conserves/swm-model-village-shore-sundarban/ for further details.
We have also maintained a policy of not living behind any litter during our treks, asking the participants to carry their own plastic waste. We make sure we dump the trash where there is a collection bin.

Future Plans

We are currently in the process of getting partnerships started with schools, so that we may include Rise Above Plastic as a part of the curriculum. The wider our reach in terms of socio-economic and regional background. We shall also document our progress to improve the program further.


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