The best way to combat any problem is to find a solution that keeps giving, and that’s exactly what India is doing. With food scarcity and plastic pollution at an all time high throughout India, Telegana’s Mulugu district has launched a new initiative that allows people to trade in their plastic waste in exchange for a free bag of rice. To date, 174 villages in the Mulugu District of Telangana, India have taken advantage of this opportunity to end food scarcity and plastic pollution.
The Severity of Plastic Pollution in India
India has one of the largest plastic pollution problems in the world. The consumption is high and the collection is extremely low. It’s estimated that approximately 26,000 tonnes of plastic gets generated each day. What’s worse is that over 10,000 tones of plastic waste remains uncollected daily, resulting in what-seems-like never-ending mounds of plastic being littered across the land. Many of the smaller roads are serving as makeshift dumping grounds, with plastic pollution scattering across an acre of land up to several metres high.
The Severity of Food Scarcity
Studies estimate that approximately 194.4 million people living in India are undernourished. This equates to approximately 14.5% of the population not receiving the amount of food they need to live healthily. Though, it isn’t the lack of food production that is the problem. In fact, Gross Domestic Product has increased almost 5 times, with per capita consumption increasing three times and food grain production increasing almost two times. The problem is, food is unable to reach a large number of people, particularly women and children.
The ‘Give 1 Kg Plastic Waste to Get 1 Kg Rice’ Initiative
In an effort to address the food scarcity and plastic pollution in India, Telangana’s Mulugu district launched a new initiative called ‘Give 1 Kg Plastic Waste to Get 1 Kg Rice’. And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. Villagers can exchange 1 Kg of plastic waste for 1 Kg of rice, and in one day alone, over 2,400 kilos of plastic items were collected.
This plastic pollution initiative was available for 10 days in 174 villages and was inspired by the upcoming ban on single-use plastic items, which is being imposed any day now. In addition to addressing food scarcity and plastic pollution, the initiative is also designed to teach the people of India about plastic pollution. And with every bag of rice they received in exchange of their plastic waste, they also receive a reusable bag to get them started on the plastic-free plan.
How Can You Help India’s Food Scarcity and Plastic Pollution
If this story pulled on your heartstrings (as it should), you likely feel intrigued to help. There are many organizations accepting donations to help the people of India, such as:
- Feeding India Organization, created to eradicate malnutrition, food waste and hunger in India
- Give India Organization, created to feed school kids across 19 states
- Waste Aid, a waste management charity to eliminate marine plastic pollution
- Down To Earth Organization, created to address climate change, water, health, food security, renewable energy and natural resource management
Every little bit helps and it starts with each and every one of us. We don’t need to have a connection to India to understand the importance of eliminating food scarcity and plastic pollution in this country.