On the face: Indian student group sent empty food wrappers back to the manufacturers!

There are a lot of talks on the plastic pollution and how people should take the responsibility of growing severity of the situation. Environmentalists says “The problem lies in YOU!” and we are the root cause of this crunch. Unfortunately, this statement encloses a void. While people do need to change their attitude towards the environment but they could not be accused to take the complete responsibility.

In the market, Mostly every daily routine product comes with the packaging that is either non-biodegradable or very hard to recycle. Such a system is designed to fail as people are given no choice but to generate the litter. Then how to tackle this problem?

A group of school going girls residing in Toothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India, recognised the problem source and planned a very interesting implementation to counter the problem.They understood that targeting the manufacturers and demanding acceptance of the charges may be a sound way to deal. Urged by the city council,these students at Subbiah Vidyalayam Girls Higher Secondary School collected approximately 20,000 plastic wrappers in the duration of just 14 days. The girls sent these wrappers to the companies with the following letter:

“We are happy with the taste and quality of your products, but unhappy with the plastic packaging. We want to ensure a safe environment for our future generations and minimise our plastic footprint. We have decided to collect used plastic wrappers of your products and send them to you for safe disposal. Please help us savour your products without guilt, by introducing eco-friendly packaging.”

Accompanying this was a an explanatory letter from the city commissioner, Alby John Varghese. He stated that the manufacturers are “wholly responsible” for the plastic waste generated by the products they produce. They also said that it is expected that “these companies to come up with an action plan for collecting used wrappers that can be implemented in two months.” (via The Better India)

Mr Varghese reported to the Times of India that this initiation was a success. Even though there is no response from the company till date but a repeated notice will urge manufacturers to take a serious call. He showed his intention to spread the initiation and involve many more schools of the same region in this action.

There are two major benefits involved with this initiation: Firstly, it will inspire the younger generation to promote the change in the conventional ideas. This will affect the lifestyle habits of the students and will help them be environmentally conscious. Secondly, this will inculcate the pressure on the industry to take the responsibility of the waste they produce and to find the environmentally sound replacement for their plastic packaging.

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