Instead of No Plastic, know your plastic: IIP’s Green Thinkers initiate ‘Know Your Plastic’ workshop

The initiative by the students of Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) at Mumbai Central Railway station was to make people understand that plastic is not harmful but not using the product properly and littering everything with it can be hazardous.

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Plastic Pollution is one of the greatest debacles that the world is facing currently. The non-degradable product has proved to be a great alternative for a re-usable material but due to its cheap availability, people often dispose it haphazardly, damaging the environment. However, if used properly, plastic is a very useful commodity. Therefore, in order to explain the same to the people, students from the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) and Mumbai First came together at Mumbai Central station.

Established on May 14, 1966, Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) is an autonomous body in the field of packaging and working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Whereas Mumbai First is a not-for-profit public think tank that aims at making Mumbai a better city and accordingly takes up initiatives for the betterment of the city.

The initiative was organised with the joint efforts of Mumbai First and Green Thinkers, a student body consisting of IIP students under the ‘Daan Utsav’ or the ‘Joy of Giving’. The founder of Green Thinkers, Abhishek Thakur is a Third Year student and believes that plastic is not bad. Talking to Mumbai Live about the inspiration to take up the initiative, Thakur said,

When I went to some of the places in Mumbai, I saw plastic littered at the railway stations. Being a packaging technologist, I got an idea that something can be done. So, we decided that instead of using the virgin plastic bags, we should reuse the existing plastic bags. We tried the initiative on a trial basis at the IIP campus and later started carrying out various initiatives.”

Earlier, Green Thinkers had conducted an awareness campaign at Andheri Metro station and Andheri Railway station. Thakur further added that the group was a part of the Versova beach cleanup campaign. While Thakur believes in plastic management, he criticised the aftermath of the plastic ban,

“We realised that the implementation of the plastic ban increased the use of paper which is a product made out of trees. This displays that indirectly we are promoting deforestation. Therefore, instead of completely banning plastic, it is necessary to understand waste management instead. Therefore, instead of saying no to plastic, know your plastic.”

In the end, it all boils down to mentality as plastic has been a widespread problem for several years and nobody has a magic wand to resolve the problem in a split second. Therefore, it is necessary for the people to understand and adapt to user-friendly alternatives that are available in the market. Gradually, more people need to gain knowledge about the problem and pace towards the change.

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