Bihar’s first no-plastic zone: This firm is taking necessary steps to avoid the use of plastic


Everyday, we come across different types of plastics in our lives. From the toothbrush in the morning to the lotion bottle in the night, we are surrounded by the use of plastics. Plastic is a non-biodegradable substance and it harms the environment. We are consistently talking about the harms and negative effects of plastic use. But are we doing enough to stop it? Answering to the question and trying to set an example, this government firm, BSPHCL has made its office, a no-plastic zone.

A total of 1,800 odd employees of state-owned Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSHPCL) decided to change their habit of plastic use by replacing them with recyclable or reusable products. These employees had something common in them and that’s there steel lunch, water bottles (made of glass or steel) which they purchased with the equitable contribution in bulk.
 
It’s been more than two months since all employees of BSHPCL and four of its derivatives have not touched any plastic in their office, making the power company’s premises the first and the only no-plastic zone in Bihar.
 
“You cannot find a single plastic water bottle, cups, cutlery or canned drinks or a plastic folder for files. No plastic bags, no straws, and no plastic-stemmed cotton buds can be spotted in the entire five-floors of Vidhyut Bhawan. The employees even use wooden pen holders and glass and steel water bottles. This is a plastic-free zone,” says Pratyaya Amrit, a 1991 batch IAS officer and chief of BSHPCL. 
 
‘A small step can make a large difference’ and this small step is making a difference not only in there work culture but also in there personal life. The employees have even stopped using plastic file folders. When courier delivery boys come with packets wrapped in a plastic cover, the employees only bring the content inside, dumping the plastic packets in the bins placed outside the office.
 
Amrit says, the employees have been telling him how they have started rearranging their habits to stop using plastic even in their private lives. “Some of our employees have stopped going to restaurants that serve food only in plastic plates. When they order food, they ask them not to send it in plastic wrappers. We all are doing our bit,” he said. 
 
In a related manner if the Bihar government has nearly 10 lakh employees, four lakh serving and nearly six lakh pensioners, on its payroll. This initiative taken by the BSHPCL employees may have the catch-up effect in times to come. It may also have a big impact on people who will find it easier to reduce the usage of plastic if the government does so.
 
For a country that produces over 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually, any drop in the use of plastic from the government, irrespective of its magnitude and extent, can add up to impact the overall generation of plastic waste. 
 
This idea behind this initiative came into action when a silent but powerful presentation was presented to the employee by a group of engineers on the hazards of plastics on the occasion of BSHPCL Foundation Day on November 19.
As the employee watched in silent shock, the engineers reflected shards of plastic that was found in the stomach of a dead sea-turtle. The presentation also gestured how the belly of dead animals reveal bottle caps and plastic scraps.
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“That presentation shocked us. Not that we did not know the hazards, but it really woke us up from within. It seemed we are dumping a grocery-size bag filled with plastic every day in our own Ganga river on the bank of which Patna is located. It was time to act,” he said.

If nothing is done, the one grocery bag will become 10 in years to come, he said.

“What further helped us make up our mind was Bihar government’s Jal Jeevan Hariyali Programme, which focuses on saving the environment for the future generations to come. By eliminating plastic from our lives, we thought we will also be contributing to the cause in our own tiny way,” said Amrit.

Every year, over 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean. Microplastics have been found to contaminate bottled water and are small enough to enter the food chain.

The BSHPCL team in Patna, Bihar believes they have made a tiny start which can bring a change in our society. Now its time for others to stand up, take responsibility and make Bihar a better place to live.

Source: Indiatoday

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