A world without plastic is not possible, believe Harishanker S. Nair and Shabab Karunyam, two college students from Kozhikode. They, instead, propagate the three ‘R’s — reduce, reuse and recycle.
And their venture, Mission Ball Pen, is a step in this direction, aimed at reducing the use of ballpoint pens, reusing them if possible, or if not, recycling. The final year undergraduate students of Lissah College, Kaithappoyil and Government Arts and Science College, Meenchanda, Harishanker and Shabab have dedicated their current academic year to the mission, which, they expect, will take the message to all school and college campuses in Kozhikode district and beyond.
Their tryst with ballpoint pens began when the two were volunteering for the Pen Drive, a project undertaken by the Green Care Mission in Kozhikode a year ago.
Under the project, they collected around one lakh used ballpoint pens from all over the district and handed them over to a group that took it to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, where the pens were used to make an installation.
The Pen Drive kicked off a movement in campuses in the district, as part of which the students continued to collect the pens, but did not know what to do with them. “Teachers from many schools contacted us asking for guidance to dispose off the pens. This prompted us to begin Mission Ball Pen on an experimental basis,” says Harishanker.
The volunteers of Mission Ball Pen plan to collect ballpoint pens from campuses and hand it over to Green Worms, a Kozhikode-based waste management venture that will recycle the pens. The volunteers will propagate the message either directly through classes or through the social media.
The activities of Mission Ball Pen is managed by a parental body that has members from Government Arts and Science College, Meenchanda, Lissah College, Kaithappoyil, Ramakrishna Mission Higher Secondary School, Meenchanda and Green Worms, while Harishanker and Shabab constitute the directing body.
The services of the mission are provided free of cost while transportation charges are levied from institutions that are located more than seven kilometres away from the city.
“We are getting queries from colleges in Thrissur, Kannur and Wayanad. They can be included if the load is substantial,” says Harishanker.
The duo does not plan to continue with the mission after the current academic year. Interested organisations, student bodies or individuals are welcome to take over the mission, which will be formally announced at a function to be held at HiLite Business Park in Kozhikode on Sunday.