Learning to save the ocean while living in a metropolitan city

Sagar Mitra Abhiyaan, an initiative to stop the entry of plastic into the seas, has been organising wo-hour sessions for children in Classes 5-10, were they are shown the effects of plastic pollution on marine life and a solution to the problem.

pune Updated: Jan 22, 2018 16:54 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Residents of Pimple Saudagar after the session on plastic waste management by Sagar Mitra.(HT PHOTO)

On Sunday, representatives from Rajveer Palace, Roseland Residency, Planet Millenium Residency, Five Gardens Residency and Ganesh Residency organised a workshop at Roseland Residency by Sagar Mitra Abhiyaan, an initiative to stop the entry of plastic into the seas, where Vinod Bodhankar, co-founder, Sagar Mitra Abhiyaan, visited Pimple Saudagar to meet core volunteers of the ‘Plastic-bag Free Pimple Saudagar’ movement.

Bodhankar presented an overview of Sagar Mitra Abhiyaan, which is an initiative to stop the entry of plastic into the seas and has involved around 1,30,000 children from 138 schools in Pune and PCMC so far. “The same initiative has been replicated in few schools in the city of New York. This is being undertaken in three countries currently,” said Bodhankar.

The initiative trains school students (Class 5 to Class 10) by organising a two-hour session where they are shown effects of plastic pollution on marine life. After this, they are shown a solution to the problem in just three slides, which includes a slide on segregation of waste. After this, many students start segregating and collecting clean and dry plastic at their home. This plastic is collected in a simple plastic bag marked ‘Sagar Mitra’ and they then bring the plastic bag once a month to the school, which will then be taken by Sagar Mitra. “We collect it from schools and send it for recycling. The goal is not to accumulate a large quantity but to have every child do this and indirectly influence their family,” said Bodhankar.

“We invited Vinod Bodhankar to Pimple Saudagar because we realised that the involvement of youth is imperative for our initiative to keep out locality plastic-free. Changing the mindset of adults is quite a challenge. If the youth are made aware, their parents will surely make an effort to fall in line,” said Madhavi Kolte, a resident.

Siddharth Naik, another resident, said, “Sagar Mitra is a great initiative and is targeting school kids, who are going to be our future generation. Once the initiative reaches kids, it will definitely reach their family. The initiative inculcates the habit of plastic garbage segregating in the child and also helps them understand how they are saving it from
reaching our oceans. While doing so, since they connect with nature, it goes beyond their national and religious identity. It was very interesting and insightful to know how Sagar Mitra is facilitating a mind set change in school kids, which is very important.”

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 22:59 IST