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This Gurugram resident is beating plastic pollution with a steel crockery bank

Hosting a community feast? Meet this Gurugrammer, who has introduced a crockery bank to rent steel utensils and cut down on use of disposable spoons, containers, etc.

gurgaon Updated: Jul 09, 2018 14:23 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Gurugram,Plastic,Pollution
Gurugram resident Sameera Satija’s initiative allows people to borrow steel crockery, and cut down on the use of disposable utensils.

Angered seeing piles of disposable crockery choking the drains, and cows eating styrofoam plates after people couldn’t care to discard it properly? Gurugram resident Sameera Satija didn’t just crib and forget it soon after. She started a crockery bank!

“It used to appal me whenever I encountered any bhandara, langar, chabeel happening on public places and huge amount of disposables plates, glasses either flying on the roads or just lying there for days. I was angered seeing the disposables lying around. All these things led me think why are we so irresponsible? Why do we behave from the point of view of a consumer, and why not a waste generator?” asks Satija, whose idea of opening a crockery bank is winning hearts across India.

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It only takes an idea to make a difference and this steel crockery bank, encourages people to use, wash and return the utensils. And, there are no rental charges!

“People serve food to the needy, free of cost, in Styrofoam [plates]. And, it’s being served without telling them that it’s harmful. There are proven facts that as soon as hot food is served in Styrofoam, it releases styrene, which is a cancer-causing agent.” — Sameera Satija

But, Satija is also concerned about the harm caused by using Styrofoam. “People serve food to the needy, free of cost, in Styrofoam [plates]. And, it’s being served without telling them that it’s harmful. There are proven facts that as soon as hot food is served in Styrofoam, it releases styrene, which is a cancer-causing agent,” she adds.

The steel crockery bank originally began with a few glasses and a quarter plates, in June-end, today encompasses over 400 steel utensils. “I wanted to begin the initiative before Nirjala Ekadashi when people serve sweet lassi; as numerous disposable glasses are used on that day. I couldn’t give it to everyone who had prepared chhabil, but I distributed to all those who I could give. [So far] we have avoided using 1500 disposable glasses. It’s a small step and a contribution, which is hopefully in the right direction (smiles),” says Satija, adding that she already has several bookings for July.

One of the places in Gurugram where (chhabil) sweet lassi was distributed in steel utensils.

Satija bought the utensils from her pocket, but friends and family are offering to contribute more utensils. “I want to tell people that there is a solution for disposable and plastic crockery and cutlery. And I’m open to the idea of people adding a thali and a glass after using it. That way, this crockery bank will be augmented and people’s contribution is made too,” says the Gurugrammer, who has been working towards waste disposal management and as a volunteer to promote home composting. She’s also associated with volunteer groups such as Hara Bhara Gurugram and Citizens for Clean Air in Gurugram.

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Addressing concerns over the consumption and wastage of water while washing the steel utensils, she says: “The amount of water used during production and manufacturing of plastic and other disposable crockery is much more than the water [that will] be used for washing these utensils. A single PET bottle of 1 ltr consumes around 5 ltr of water during manufacturing. Imagine the water consumption of thousands of bottles per day, per month, per year. For cleaning these utensils, I suggest users to use potassium permanganate and soap nut powder; they are eco-friendly so the left out water can be utilised in watering the plants around.”

Satija is now also urging others to replicate the idea in their vicinity. “It’ll be good to have decentralised crockery banks, so that we can have more crockery banks in your area or society,” she signs off.

Interact with the author at Twitter/@Nainaarora8

First Published: Jul 09, 2018 14:21 IST