Are you ready to take up the #NoPlasticChallenge?

As part of Chennai Trekking Club’s efforts to clean up the coastline, you are challenged to avoid plastics in your day-to-day life for 5 days. Game?

No Plastic Challenge Courtesy - Chennai Coastal Cleanup FB page 2

Plastics are not a rare sight in landfills, sewers and public dumping yards. While many plastic wrappers come with a message not to dump them in landfills and to recycle them, these plastics still make them way to dumping yards, sewers, lakes, beaches.

Every year, Chennai Trekking Club year organizes an annual event to clean up the Chennai Coastline and to prevent a considerable amount of non-biodegradable items washed off into the sea as an initiative to save marine life. For the past 5 years, a huge number of volunteers have been involved in this initiative to collect tons and tons of non-biodegradable waste from the Chennai coastline and pass on the waste collected for recycling to their recycling partners. However, this practice of dumping waste and then cleaning them up every time would be a never ending affair if there is no awareness created to stop the practice of littering, and this thought gave birth to the idea of #NoPlasticChallenge.

‘No Plastic Challenge’ is an idea conceived by a few volunteers of the Chennai Trekking Club to encourage the idea of ‘Reduce, Re-use and Recycle’ while preparing for the 6th edition of Chennai Coastal Cleanup. The motto behind this is to reduce plastics wherever you can, and if you cannot reduce – try to up cycle or reuse it, and when these cannot be reused as well, pass them on for recycling. It is a 5-day challenge to stop dumping plastics in landfills and exploring alternatives for sustainability and an eco-friendly living.

6,264,453 straws were collected in CCC5 in Chennai Coastline in just few hours of cleaning up!

No Plastic Challenge Courtesy - Chennai Coastal Cleanup FB page

 If you are one of those relishing sea-food, you would have probably been consuming plastics (plastic micro-fibres consumed by the fish) as well along with the sea food. While many believe that paper cups are eco-friendly alternatives to plastic cups; that’s not really the case as they come coated with plastic or wax to prevent leakage. And this would obviously slow the bio-degradation process as paper is coated with plastic. While we can readily accept plastics in a jiffy, why can’t we spend a little more time segregating thick and thin plastics and hand over them for recycling, perhaps for our good? Just give it a thought!

No Plastic Challenge Informational Poster. Courtesy - Chennai Coastal Cleanup FB page 2

Many people have joined this brigade by carrying jute/cloth bag for grocery to fruit/vegetable shopping, opting for metal/thick reusable water bottles, reusable and eco-friendly cloth pads and diapers, eco-friendly soap nut and soap berry based detergents and dish wash powders packaged in card board boxes, the traditional neem sticks and tooth powders, biodegradable food packaging with banana leaves, palm leaves, areca leaves and bamboo, tender coconut and juices without straws and plastics, manure rich fibre and cow dung pots over the plastic pots, cotton clothing/cloth without plastic micro-fibre, avoiding chewing gums and cosmetics with micro-beads. And the list is never ending and would leave us amazed on the various alternatives that we would come across when we start taking up the challenge.

Besides these options, this challenge also encourages the practice of Source segregation – a well-known practice to separate organic and inorganic waste and to use the organic waste for composting. Organic waste contributes to 50% of the trash and this has hazardous effects when mixed with plastics and other non-biodegradable materials. One another wonderful suggestions from a few participants was to encourage the segregation the thin plastics that come from cooking oil packaging, groceries, milk covers, online orders and then hand them over to a few recycling partners in your city/town for initiatives like laying Plastic roads and many other projects. The plastics that were collected in the Coastal Cleanup 5 were used in laying plastic roads in Madambakkam area in Chennai. The team has also been working on collection of cardboard boxes, thin plastics and thick plastics with the help of their recycling partners with a Plastic Mela which is planned on 31-May.

No Plastic Challenge Information about No Plastic Challenge

If you are one of those, who has been concerned reading news about Varathur Lake bubbling up and releasing toxins, the stinking dumping yards from the one in your own locality to some of the toxic dumping yards like Pallikaranai, Kodungaiyur and Perungudi, here’s your chance to make a difference. Everything that we do or do not do has an impact; it starts with someone and ripples over to others. Share your practices in Facebook with hash-tag ‘#NoPlasticChallenge’ and once done with your five day challenge, nominate your friends to take up the Challenge and follow the practices that you adopted in the 5 days. Like the ‘Chennai Coastal Cleanup’ Facebook page for more updates. If each of the few billion people can refuse single use plastics and reuse/recycle the plastics, and make better use of the organic waste in gardens, there would be no trash left over to dump from your house. The only way to conserve our ecosystem is to stop thinking that someone else will do it for us. It’s our world that we are a part of; let’s do our every bit to conserve it. Chennaites have started reducing, reusing and recycling.

Are you ready to take up the #NoPlasticChallenge?

I am a nature enthusiast, traveler, gardener and blogger, harbouring crazy dreams of a Clean India. more


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I am a nature enthusiast, traveler, gardener and blogger, harbouring crazy dreams of a Clean India. more

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  • Vinodh Sundar

    Nice article Sandhya !!!