When silent protest against plastic speaks the loudest

  • Abhinav Rajput, None, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 20, 2015 21:25 IST

At a time when protests and campaigns are usually accompanied by loud agitations and sloganeering, a group of women from Sarvodaya Enclave has adopted an innovative way to protest against the use of plastic bags.

These environment warriors are known for their silent battle in the area. The volunteers of the social organization Compassionate Living silently stand outside shops that use plastic bags for an hour. They can be seen holding placards with messages promoting use of cloth bags and simultaneously educating people about the harmful effects of plastic.

“We don’t say anything to anyone, we just stand there for an hour which facilitates an attitudinal shift in shoppers. After a few days, many of them start bringing their own carry bags,” said Padmavati Dwivedi, leader of the group and a resident of Sarvodaya Enclave.

“The fact is that people want to protect the environment, but they need to be reminded frequently of their social responsibilities. This initiative has been welcomed by all. There are several people in the locality who have said no to plastic after the campaign,” said Madhumita Naik, a volunteer.

The positives of the campaign have inspired others from the neighbouring colonies as well and the campaign has been started by the Resident Welfare Association of Gulmohar Park.

Talking about how the idea was conceived, Dwivedi, an environmentalist, said that she used to notice a fruit vendor outside her son’s school using polybags despite the ban. When she enquired, he said he uses around 250 such bags every day. She requested the vendor not to use plastic bags, but he didn’t listen to her. This went on for six years before she decided to start a campaign against the use of plastic in December last year.

“If plastic is being shamelessly used outside a school’s gate, what message will the children get? Therefore, I started this initiative here before moving to other places in Sarvodaya Enclave. After seeing me silently stand outside the shop holding placards for around 15 days, the fruit vendor, Shyam Sundar, finally gave up using plastic. He now distributes pamphlets made by the volunteers of Compassionate Living to the shoppers so that the message reaches to others too,” she said.

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