Students of Loyola College coaxed the residents to part with their plastic waste for the benefit of the city.

When the Corporation of Chennai came out with its need to collect 800 tonnes of plastic to lay roads for a stretch of 370km, it did not float a tender to get shredded plastic from companies. Instead it turned to Chennai residents to collect waste plastic from their households. It was a win-win situation, as this also served as a means to dispose of plastic. We, the students of Loyola, took stock of the situation and decided to contribute our two cents worth.

Convincing citizens

As part of our Outreach activities, volunteers visited the suburbs of Egmore on Tuesdays and Fridays to create awareness among people on health and hygiene. When the plastics project came by, we decided to drop in on a Wednesday (the day earmarked by the Corporation to collect plastic) and collect plastics from the area.

We got in touch with the area's garbage collector so that he could organise transport. We marched out to the suburb, earning puzzled looks from the residents. Most residents were reluctant to part with their plastic bags. We had to explain to them the need to do away with plastic and also how they can contribute to better roads in the city. And soon we got their confidence and garbage collection gained momentum. Volunteers went around homes and dumping areas to collect plastic bags. We still had to coax a few senior residents, who gave in finally when we retired for the day and dropped the plastic collected as the vehicle was moving out.

Carry your bags

It was a day well spent and made an impact on every individual who participated. For our part, we have decided to cut down on our use of plastic bags by carrying our own bags for shopping and refusing the offer of plastic bags in shops and other places.

The joke was, however, on us that day. Ironically, we had to use plastic gloves for the drive. And they went straight into the bin, once we were done.

KASIVISWANATHAN S., II Year B.Com, Loyola College

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