Bhopal: Even if there are many appalling yarns about the ill-effects of the use of polythene bags, Bhopalis have never given them up. Their love for polythene bags is so deep-rooted that they can afford to see the drains and water bodies in the city in a jam caused by plastic bags, but they are not ready to shun synthetic sacs.

Yet, there are a few who have been using cloth, jute and paper-made bags for many years. They are making efforts to turn Bhopalis’ love for synthetic sacs into animosity towards it by distributing cloth, jute and paper-made bags. The question on the eve of the World Environment Day is will they be able to Beat Plastic Pollution (This year’s Environ Day theme)? Or their efforts will end only in telling yarns about the ill-effects of polythene bags. To get a reply to the above question, Free Press talked to some people associated with anti-plastic movement. Excerpts:

Sunil Dubey, ‘Vrikshamitra’, social activist

I have been using cloth-made bags since 2008 as well as making people aware about the ill-effects of synthetic bags. We have also been distributing such bags among people and shopkeepers free of cost since 2010.  My family members and 200 people in my team have stopped using plastic bags, besides.

Now, they carry cloth-made bags. We also visit tea stalls and hotels in the city and ask the shopkeepers not to serve tea, coffee or any food items in plastic bags, because it may cause cancer. We should use cups made of paper and thermocol for tea and coffee. We have been planting saplings since 2008 at different places in MP other states. We gift saplings at wedding ceremonies, birthday parties and literary summits.

Shibani Ghosh, director, Parvarish -The Museum School

I have been using clothes and paper-made bags for more than three years. My family members and children in our school don’t use synthetic carriers. They use clothes and paper-made bags for buying anything whether it is vegetables, fruits or any grocery items. Even they carry their books and notebooks in cloth-made bags. We tell children how to make jute, cloth and paper bags. Children took pledge that if they saw polythene lying on roads or anywhere they would put it into dustbin.

Sindhu Dholpure, director, People’s Theatre Group, Bhopal

I often use jute and cloth-made bags and motivate my family and group members not to use plastic bags. Now, my mother has started using cloth-made bags to buy vegetables, milk and grocery items. I have gifted a jute-made lunch-box cover to my mother and brothers.  Earlier, they carried plastic bags. I also motivate children, especially those who are living slums, to shun plastic bags and organised a camp to spread awareness among them about the pollution caused by synthetic items.

Manoj Sharma, scientist and in-charge Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhopal

I have been using cloth and paper-made bags for many years. I use non-plastic bags for buying vegetables, fruits and milk and grocery items. My family members have already shunned synthetic bags. We also inform the children about the pollution caused by polythene bags. Besides, I motivate them to use paper and clothes-made bags by organising summer camps.

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