Plastics are flexible, durable and resistant to water and therefore used everywhere from packaged foods, confectioneries, cars, furniture to toys.
According to the recent survey, it is estimated that 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day, out of which 9,000 tonnes is collected and processed, but 6,000 tonnes of plastic waste remains uncollected and littered.
Plastic waste chokes drainage and causes serious environmental disruption. It affects and depreciates the flora and fauna of both land and water.
Perhaps, proper reuse of plastic waste has always been a big hurdle in achieving the goal of having a healthy and clean environment.
But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Gyalshing, West Sikkim has taken up the challenge of utilising various waste plastic products to make different useful items.
Students are divided into groups. Each group goes out to collect sweet wrappers, chips and other such plastic waste from the school compound and surrounding areas. They also bring plastic bottles from their homes and neighbourhood. After collecting the products, the groups wash the plastic waste and dry it up. With plastic all dried up, it is used to make cushions, decorative items and bottles. The bottles are then used to border the school garden.
The school has adopted the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), especially in concern with plastics—it has banned processed and packaged food in the school compound.
The school is not only reusing plastic waste materials, it is working tirelessly in spreading awareness about water conservation and other green activities.
The school has a fish tank in order to utilise the surplus water which tends to overflow from the water tank. Since the school is engaged in various plantation and gardening activities, it has a compost pit and vermicompost pit in the school area.
Not believing in resting on its laurels, the school encourages brainstorming sessions regarding the proper management of plastic waste each year.