Change begins from within and from an individual. If we wish for a better world, it is us who needs to act for the change to happen. With this thought, Arannya has begun its #NoSUP campaign on the occasion of Earth Day 2019, to spread awareness amongst people against the use of Single Use Plastics. #NoSUP expands to "No Single Use Plastic". The #NoSUP campaign is a very simple voluntary initiative, where a network of 200 youths spread across Goa are being asked to interact with local small businesses and try to persuade them not to use SUP (single use plastics), while every month a team from Arannya comprising of Arannya staff and volunteers from Arannya's network group visit a popular tourist destination of Goa and does this sensitisation campaign covering maximum vendors and customers together.
Cutout Designs of the #NoSUP Campaign
At each stall, our team engages with the vendor primarily, trying to understand his/ her basic problems with the mode of his business operation and why it is difficult to avoid SUP. Upon listening to the answers to our queries, we try to reason with them as to which areas and which situations SUP can be avoided. Our request to every vendor has been simple "please avoid giving your customers SUP, especially frivolous SUP's like straws, however if they insist, do give them as we do not want your business to be affected". We always part from each vendor by providing them with our campaign cut-out hanger and a request to try their best to make a difference. - Harshada Gauns (President AERO)
A Cutout designed by Vighnesh Shinde from Team Arannya at a Stall in Old Goa
SUP is widely used in various sectors in Goa and the biggest user is probably the food and packaging industry. The use is widespread, right from the plastic cups and Styrofoam plates used at various religious festivals and marriage/birthday feasts to the Paper cups coated with plastic, filled with carbonated drinks covered with a plastic lid and a plastic straw at the centre!
During Arannya's pilot drives at selected locations across Goa, it documented that:
i) at an average place of worship with good patronage during festivities, uses and disposes about 3000-4000 units of Type 5 SUP cups every day for a duration of 1-3 days at an average.
ii) at an average marriage reception with a guest list of ~500 individuals, ~1500 units of Type 5 SUP glasses are used and discarded at the drinking water dispenser.
iii) at an average small-scale Sugarcane Juice Stall ~50 Type 5 plastic straws are used every day.
To understand the scale of SUP used in Goa, all we need to do is multiply this with the number of such small-scale vendors across Goa, or the number of weddings per year across the state or the number of places of worship in Goa. Yes, this number is beyond human comprehension and that's how big this problem is!
The problem is even worse because recycling of Type 5 plastic is very costly and difficult so in most cases is either incinerated or goes into landfill. All this is intuitively very weird because it is sometimes beyond comprehension how humans as an evolved race can produce something to be used for 5 minutes and then discarded to remain on this planet for 300- 1000 years!
This is the reason why a campaign like #NoSUP is extremely important in the current situation. The credit of developing the concept and idea of this campaign goes to Vighnesh Shinde, Outreach and Nature Educator from Arannya who is very passionate about this issue. He carried out several pilot interactions at Cancona, Sirvoi, Faterpe and Betim before using all his collective experience in designing the current campaign.
Team Arannya after the Campaign at Old Goa