Piles of plastic bags and bottles disfigure more and more the Indian countryside. We had a discussion with local youth on the threat that these represent for the environment. They realised that the plastic we throw away will stay around for some 300 years, that our fields may become impermeable because plastic waste is mixed with compost and that the main cause of death of our cows is the plastic bags they swallow while trying to get at the peels that are discarded in them.
In Orchha, pilgrims bring their offerings wrapped in plastic to the temple. Three or four times, on festival days when the stream of pilgrims swells, the youth have placed banners outside the temple with the message ‘Say no to plastic’ and asked those entering to take a paper bag in exchange for their plastic bag. Friends of Orchha has had cloth bags made with the slogan ‘polythene free Orchha’ printed on them. They are sold at Rs. 15 per bag.
We prepared a plan for ecological waste management that we have submitted to the municipality of Orchha. It proposes that waste is sorted at source so that most of it can be recycled or composted. We hope to demonstrate some of the solutions contained in this plan in the neighbourhood of Ganj where the home-stay is situated.