Forest dept buying plastic bottles from people in Koraput

Koraput: In a novel way to dissuade people from using plastic, Koraput forest division in Odisha is buying plastic bottles from people as part of its campaign coinciding with the World Environment Day today.

During the campaign from June 1 to 7, the forest division has been buying unused plastic bottles from residents and business establishments to reuse them, an official said.

This year, the United Nations’ theme for World Environment Day is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ – a call to combat one of the great environmental challenges of the time. The theme has been chosen by India, this year’s host.

The Koraput forest division’s drive aims to check plastic pollution in the urban areas of the district.

For each plastic bottle it buys, irrespective of the size, the forest division is paying the owner 50 paise. “We want to buy as much bottles as we can,” said P Poornima, divisional forest officer, Koraput.

The officer said the drive was being carried out by forest officials in association with members of various social and volunteer organisations. The department will use some bottles to make pencil and pen stands, others will be cut and used as planters.

“Saplings can be placed in the cut bottles and hung in offices. We plan to develop an entire garden with saplings in plastic bottles,” she said.

The department has also launched a campaign to make people aware of the ill-effects of plastic bottles. Apart from distributing leaflets and putting up posters, motorcycle rallies are being held to spread the word.

“Plastic items spill over from landfills and choke drains. It takes 1,000 years for the plastic carry-bags we use to break up. Most of them are used for just a few minutes-to carry things from the shop to the house. We are asking people to shun the use of plastic items,” the officer said.

Photo: Tessa Levesque