No matter how much we try to deny it, but with time, plastic has become a part and parcel of our lives. We have become so addicted to plastic use that we do not even want to reduce its consumption or maybe look for alternative methods. However, few understand the heavy cost that the world would have to pay if we do not stop irresponsible and incessant use of plastic. One such person is a 36-year-old, a resident of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, in order to spread the same awareness to others has decided to dress as polythene and roam on the streets of Odisha.
“Chalta firta dustbin”
Dressed with a cardboard crown on his head and plastic bottles and bags hanging from his shoulder to his toe, Bishnu Bhagat, Odisha’s “chalta firta dustbin” (walking dustbin) goes out on the streets daily. He does not care about the jokes and laughter that are made on him as he passes by. He says, “If I look ugly to you (people), think about the earth and what we have made it.” Indeed his worries are poignant. His aim is to convey only one message to people, which is, “to save the future, don’t use polythene bags”.
While talking to the ANI, Bhagat says that people should stop using the hazards plastic. He asks people to cut down plastics from their daily lives, whether they are using it for sipping tea or as shopping bags.
He says, “I just want to send out a clear message to people that plastic is very harmful to the environment. I am wearing this dress made of plastic so that I can also teach children regarding the same. I urge you all to not to use plastic and its products in order to keep the environment clean and green,” as reported by The Asian Age.
Teaches children the same
Bhagat is also educating young children to follow the same mantra of avoiding plastic use. On a daily basis, he visits nearby schools and colleges as part of his awareness campaign. He interacts with students and tries to make them more aware of the growing crisis.
While talking about Bhagat’s initiative, a school principal from a local school in Odisha says, “Our children love to talk to him regarding pollution because of his dress. They are convinced that the use of plastic will deteriorate the environment and increase the toxicity in the environment.”
It’s not just teachers who find Bhagat’s work impressive; even the students are equally thrilled by the ‘walking dustbin man’. One of the students said that he has learned a lot from Bhagat. The student says that he now would also encourage his friends and family not to use plastic, as reported by The Asian Age.
Meanwhile, Vineet Bharadwaj, Collector and District Magistrate of Mayurbhanj, has also appreciated Bhagat work. He said, Bharat’s unique move and efforts can culminate into a mass movement in the district, and everyone can collectively work towards a better future.
Inspiration behind his endeavour
It is a tragedy, which is still fresh in Bhagat’s mind that prompted him to become a ‘dustbin man’. He says that he once noticed that an individual had thrown a plastic bag filled with food in front of him. As soon as the man left, a cow which was around rushed towards the bag gulping down the food along with the plastic bag. “A few days later, it (cow) died. This event stirred me and I decided to do my bit for the environment and the animals,” Bhagat, a resident of Baripada told the ANI.
Plastic menace is a growing problem, in an attempt to curb it, the Odisha government in October this year had banned plastic in six districts of the state.
As per the ban guidelines, it is prohibited to sell, store and manufacture plastic. The state which is aiming to go plastic-free in the next two years has banned plastic and those who would violate the order would be levied with a five-year jail sentence with a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh.
The Logical Indian take
According to several reports, plastic pollution is one of the growing threat to mankind. According to UN data, about one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute around the world. Also, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. This means that almost half of the plastic created in the world is thrown away after a single-use.
All this plastic ends up either in landfills or in the ocean. The marine life is heavily endangered because of plastic. Reports of aquatic animals dying of plastic pollution are increasing by the day. A study from 2015 found that there have been around 44,000 incidences of animals getting entangled in plastic debris since the 1960s. Plastic, that disintegrates into smaller pieces, are often eaten by smaller fish, which then ultimately end up in our stomach. That is carcinogenic for human beings. While The Logical Indian greatly appreciates Bhagat’s efforts, it is also important that we all take inspiration from him and work towards saving the earth by saying no to plastic.