Environment

Student eco-warriors are spreading the no-plastic message to tender coconut sellers

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These twenty students have taken it upon themselves to distribute paper straws to shopkeepers

July has been a busy month for 17-year-old Jaipreet Aswani. He has been going from area to area in Chennai to distribute paper straws to local tender coconut sellers.

This young environment head of Sindhi Model School, along with teammate Harshita Jain, has embarked on this initiative to spread awareness among shopkeepers against the use of plastic.

“The star hotels and big restaurants have started avoiding plastic, but it’s the local roadside elaneer anna and akkas who actually need to be made aware,” says Jai, who co-founded Born to Win, an organisation that supports various causes, “They don’t realise how harmful plastic straws are for our oceans.”

Jai went on a recce of sorts, and found that most vendors were open to the idea of paper straws but didn’t know how to go about getting them. It was fortunately at that phase that he got in touch with Anna Nagar-based Genetiz Foundation, which offered to give him paper straws (ones without any branding) that he could distribute.

Student eco-warriors are spreading the no-plastic message to tender coconut sellers

Once the stock of 10,000 paper straws arrived, Jai went, along with a few other student volunteers, into the various neighbourhoods across the city. They covered more than 30 sellers, giving 100 straws to each of them — free of cost. “They were all happy,” he says, “Some of them even told me that they would never use plastic straws henceforth; that was heartening to hear.”

Once Jai posted about his initiative on social media, several positive comments poured in, some from other cities as well. “A boy in Kolkata (Zaruf Iqbal) wrote to me, saying that he wanted to spread the idea in his city. He is single-handedly championing the cause there,” beams Jai, who says that student volunteers in Bengaluru, Mumbai and the Andamans have also reached out to him. He believes that this is only the first step towards making the world a better place to live in. “We are the future,” he says, “And it’s up to us school children to take up an initiative, and pursue it with determination,” says Jai, who is working on a water conservation awareness programme next.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 9:50:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/student-eco-warriors-are-spreading-the-no-plastic-message-to-tender-coconut-sellers/article28757798.ece

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