Mumbai women push for change, one bag at a time
May 28, 2010 1 Comment
MUMBAI: If you thought environmentalism was for those who have too much time on their hands, here’s proof of what “desperate housewives” can accomplish. Last year in June, six young working mothers banded together to implement at home the essence of a sustainable lifestyle — reduce, reuse and recycle. Soon enough, the group grew into RUR, an organization that is now shaping up a public conscience.
“We practise zero-waste management at home. So from using CFL and LED lights to cleaning glasses with lemon peels to reusing kitchen water for composting etc, we live by sustainable measures. And wish that more people start green living at their homes and offices,” says Monisha Narke of RUR. “With the government push to ban the use of plastic bags, the time is opportune to make available economical, eco-friendly alternatives. Cotton bags seem to be the best solution in our times as they are earth-friendly, biodegradable and re-usable many times over. Through workshops, practical demonstrations, campaigns, we spread the green message of shifting the focus from disposable to reusable,” she explains.
The group started with Sahakari Bhandar (a cooperative departmental chain of stores), now taken over by a private body. “We ideated with them on how they can encourage consumers to use cloth bags instead of plastic ones,” says Sejal Kshirsagar. “This year, too, we will be repeating the awareness drive at some of the SB outlets in the city.”
Earlier this year, the group in association with another environment body, Vishwa, made a human chain in three markets to popularize the concept of cloth bags. “Since plastic bags are rampantly used in markets, we spoke to vendors in some of the markets and encouraged them to stock cloth bags. They can also rent these bags as well for a week at a time. With corporate support, we can include many markets in this project and give the bags at a subsidized price. These bags are made of untreated cotton fabric which we buy from the market. Some donate old dupattas and bed sheets for fridge bags. These are sold at subsidized prices or given free to vendors,” says Kshirsagar.
Being true to the three R’s, they have also associated with another NGO called Force which collects reusable dry articles and recycles them. So, be it plastic, paper, metal, you name it, they will collect anything that is reusable. What next? “We are planning kiosks at prominent places to collect tetrapacks. These will be given to a company in Ahmedabad, Daman Ganga, that recycles them to produce consumer products,” says Kshirsagar.