Nuapada: Concerned over the unabated use of plastic and thermocol utensils during marriage and other community functions, a woman sarpanch of Bhaleswar panchayat in Nuapada launched a unique initiative to make the village free from plastic.
Sarpanch Devi Agrawal made a provision to replace plastic utensils with single-use plastic in any social or religious function in the village. With the help of villagers, she gathered various kinds of utensils and kitchen cookware which she called ‘Bartan Bank.’
Villagers can collect the utensils on rent at a minimum price during any community feast and have to return them after the celebration. The sarpanch made it a rule that users have to bear the cost of any utensil in case of loss or damage.
She came up with the novel idea after many cattle and humans fell ill due to the use of plastic.
“Due to the rising use of plastic utensils especially during marriage and other functions, our lands are becoming infertile. Plastic use also causes various diseases in humans and cattle. Cows die after consuming plastic items. So, I planned to open a ‘Bartan Bank’ which would help reduce plastic use,” the sarpanch said.
“Odisha chief secretary PK Jena and the pollution control board had called upon to make a plastic-free environment. So, we started the initiative at the village -level. The Bartan Bank is running in only one village. It will help reduce the expense of marriage and other social functions. We are trying to launch the initiative in other panchayats too,” Prem Agrawal, a local resident said.
She started the initiative after holding a meeting with the villagers. The utensils were bought with the village funds.
Now, there are 150 steel plates, 150 bowls, 150 glass and spoons with other cookware in the inventory. With these utensils, one can throw a feast for around 150-200 people.
The sarpanch has plans to replicate the idea in neighbouring villages.