Gurugram: The hazardous nature of plastic needs no introduction. The world has perished significantly because of the mass usage of plastic in our daily lives, that clog and decimate the environment in multiple ways.
The onus to clean up the mess lies on every individual in society by adopting an environmental friendly lifestyle and in this regard, reducing dependence on single use plastic products is very important.
While the government of India has initiated the state ban of plastic consumption in some parts of the country- cheap glossy plastic products continue to taint the Indian landscape, spluttering and choking water bodies, animals and humans alike.
However, 45-year-old Gurugram resident who is appalled by the plastic situation in the city has been making small and significant efforts in order to limit the consumption of plastic as much as possible.
Meet Sameera Satija, a government employ, who has recently launched a ‘crockery bank’ that lends steel utensils to various committees and organisations, all free of cost. Her idea was to eliminate the usage of disposable plastic products at social gatherings.
“There is no rental charge for using the crockery. Anyone can ask for it, take it, use them, wash it and give it back,” said Sameera who initially procured the first batch of utensils with help from a friend who knew someone from a factory.
In an interview with News18.com, Sameera explained the genesis of her unique idea to us.
Despite being extremely appreciative of the noble Samaritans who would offer a glass of respite in the form of water and lassi to the commuters and passers-by on scorching days, Samira told us how appalled she felt by the plastic pollution such gatherings generated.
“Whenever I encountered any bhandara, langar, chabeel that is happening on public places, I always found huge amount of disposables plates, glasses either flying on the roads or just lying there for days which would eventually get stuck in water drains and horticulture iron nets,” she said.
Sameera who also has some experience in volunteer work, tried to generate awareness about the toxic nature of plastic on multiple occasions among the organisers. “The did understand but everyone has their own reason of using them,” she said.
Considering how asking people to buy crockery may not always be practical she decided to do something about the situation herself. And so entirely at personal cost, Satija began by buying around 100 steel glasses and 75 plates.
After this, she created a Facebook page called ‘Crockery Bank for Everyone’ with a simple formula “ask – use – wash – return”, setting the cogwheels officially in motion.
“Although, I invested money from my own pocket a lot of offers have steadily poured in over time from friends and people,” she said.
Over time the pool of resources at the crockery bank has grown considerably, with upto 400 untensils in the account.
“I didn’t accept the initial offers as I wanted people to first use the crockery personally and then only make contributions. But a few close friends have helped me significantly,” she added.
Her first venture was ahead of Nirzala Akadashi, where she lent steel glasses for lassi to people organising Chabeel last month. “I started with glasses only and gave them to two groups. To my satisfaction, we could avoid a considerable amount of disposable trash.”
Sameera’s initiative has been appreciated and celebrated by the local community. According to her, a lot of people have been inspired to question their consumption of disposable plastic in their daily activities.
While the challenge of washing the utensils is a palpable one, Sameera believes that it is only restricted to occasions where there is an uncertainty over water supply.
“Washing of utensils is a non-issue if it is a house party or bhandara and langar in temples. The problem arises at events roadsides or public places where there is no easy access to water. I am considering talking to civic bodies to provide water in such cases,” she explained.
Sameera’s ingenious services can be availed only in Gurugram at the moment, where she is currently based. However, she hopes that her initiative will infiltrate into other pockets of the city’s cosmos and “people would want to replicate the idea in their own ways.”
She added that she’s more than happy to provide any kind of assistance to interested communities or individuals and is available on her Facebook Page.