We live in a world where "throwaway" culture has become a reality. Compared to the other products out there, the ones made from plastic turn out to be inexpensive, produced in bulk and designed for the masses. If you think about it, almost every product that you pick up today like cellphones, cars, television sets, and beauty product packaging including others, have plastic in them. While plastic may not burn a big hole in our pockets, mother Earth does end up paying a hefty price for it.
In case you didn't know, it takes about a thousand years for plastic to biodegrade. But guess what? You, as an individual, also have the power to change the fate of the world. While immediately switching to a 100% sustainable lifestyle may not be feasible, you can certainly start by taking baby steps.
In fact, you can learn a thing or two from the good people of a tiny town in India called Lachen! This peaceful town is situated in the Northern region of Sikkim and is known for its snow-capped mountains, picturesque landscapes, clean air and natural beauty. Naturally, this pretty place attracts numerous tourists every year. Simple math: more tourists = more single-use plastic waste. It was these very plastic mineral water bottles that agitated and bothered the locals. This motivated them to completely ban plastic packaged water bottles and introduce a new eco-friendly alternative--bamboo!
Through the Sikkim Rajya Sabha MP Hishey Lachungpa, the bamboo bottles are believed to be ordered from Assam. They look like this:
Pretty neat, right? Your next question would probably be, 'why bamboo?' As opposed to plastic, bamboo is mother nature's gift to mankind, as it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. The best part: it's 100% biodegradable. When fully submerged into the soil, bamboo can take at least 3 years to decompose.
Sikkim's battle with plastic has been going on for a while now. In 1998, Sikkim took its first few steps to ban plastic. In 2016, plastic water bottles were an uncommon sight in government offices and events. On and off, tourist vehicles travelling to Lachen are stopped and checked to see if they're carrying any plastic bottles.
As of now, one thousand water bottles made from bamboo have been ordered by Lachen's local authorities. They intend to increase that number in the near future too. After plastic bottles, the locals aim to find solutions for biscuit and wafer packets as well! *Hurray*
While bamboo is a great alternative to products made from plastic, you can also take the eco-friendly route by embracing products made from jute, teak, soybean fabric, hemp, cork, recycled glass, clay brick, copper and organic cotton.
We hope that the rest of India takes a cue from Lachen and joins the plastic ban for a better and greener tomorrow.
Featured Image: Instagram