Give Plastic, Take Home Rice, Andhra Youth's Initiative To Eradicate Single-Use Plastic
A youth-based group, Mana Peddapuram, has initiated ‘Rice for plastic’ drive with the aim of eradicating the use of plastic. This non-profit group hailing from Peddapuram town in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district distributes rice among people in exchange of plastic.
‘Avoid plastic-Avoid Hunger’
Naresh Pedireddi, an MBA in Human Resource and now a cashew nut trader conceptualized the initiative. Launched on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatama Gandhi, this drive has twin-goals to accomplish: One is to encourage people to avoid using items made of plastic, which is in line with the Prime Minister’s goal of eradicating single-use plastic within the next three years, other is the fight against hunger.
“Before October 2, we announced that whoever brings us plastic items, preferably single-use plastics, will be given an equal quantity of rice,” said Pedireddi, the man behind the idea.
The campaign kick-started with an overwhelming response, 200 kg of plastic collected and 200 kg of rice distributed to enthusiastic concerned civilians on the very first day.
Subsequently, the group collected 150 kg of plastic in the next 2 days of their campaign.
States like Hyderabad are also approaching the group for expanding the initiative.
The NGO starts by buying rice directly from the mills as it’s comparatively cheaper. The plastic items collected is given to sanitation workers.
Thereafter, the civic body gives them to the recycling plants, owned by the government and private parties, throughout Peddapuram.
Mana Penddapuram, has a network of nearly 25,000 members including the locals and those who have moved to other parts of the country and overseas from Peddapuram. The group not only has a tremendous offline base but also and online base which is very active on Facebook.
“So, mobilisation of resources is not a problem for us. Moreover, there are a couple of huge rice mills in our area and they have agreed to contribute rice for our noble cause,” said Pedireddi.
However, the group is reluctant to make the campaign a daily-affair as almost all its members are from the working class. “We will continue the campaign but will conduct the barter-only on Sundays as we need manpower and most of us have offices to attend to and businesses to look after,” he said.
The group also wants to motivate children to participate in the plastic waste collection by offering them toys, chocolates and biscuits, instead of rice.