Puri: Approximately 3 million people congregate every year in Puri to witness and take part in the world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. Along comes tonnes of plastic/PET waste littered by devotees and tourists attending the festival. Little do we care about the plastic waste generated and its ill-effect on the ecology, but there are 30 volunteers who will spend the next few days segregating solid waste generated during the Puri Rath Yatra.
Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB)has joined hands with the National Service Scheme Volunteers of Puri, volunteers from NGO PECUC and HCCB Career Development Centreto assist the local administration in its effort to keep the festival clean and litter-free. As a part of the program, there are blue and green bins that have been installed along the Rath Yatra route and in other parts of the town, so that devotees have no inconvenience in responsibly discarding used plastic bottles. However, if there are some plastic bottles that are still littered, volunteers deployed by Hindustan Coca-Cola and PECUC, will make all efforts to collect, segregate and dispose the plastic waste into the designated bins. These volunteers will also educate the travelers and devotees at Puri on waste segregation and responsible disposal. Similar arrangements have been made at the Puri beach to prevent marine litter of plastic. At the beach, the volunteers will focus on educating children and sensitizing adults on plastic waste segregation and disposal. The volunteers will particularly be keen on educating children on aspects of waste segregation and value of PET, since children act as major change agents, at time even influencing adults. Used plastic bottles (PET) are 100% recyclable and are of significant value even after use, because these used plastic bottles can be recycled into making T-shirts, jackets, shoes, toys, decorative items, interior decoration materials and many others.
Hindustan Coca-Cola has undertaken similar activities at other major festivals and events during the previous year, namely during the Mission Green Sabrimala in Kerala and at the Godavari Pushkaralu Festival in Rajmundhry. Both these programs were undertaken in partnership with the local district administration and local NGO partners. Buoyed by the success and response to these programs, Hindustan Coca-Cola took the initiative of promoting PET recycling at the Puri Rath Yatra festival, for the first time.
The key elements of this joint initiative are:
• ‘Zero Plastic Waste Puri Rath Yatra’ – a volunteer march in Puri with hundreds of volunteers prior to the festival to sensitize the public about the need to dispose plastic responsibly done a day prior to the beginning of the Rath Yatra
• Formation of a dedicated team of 30 plastic waste collectors to recover plastic waste during the ongoing festival and supplement the efforts of the municipal administration. With a focus on segregating plastic waste at the first point of collection the team will be educating the public and promoting responsible PET recycling on the 24th, 25th & 27th of June
• The Company is also supporting the Puri municipal corporation by providing 30 identifiable Blue Coloured Plastic collection bins to be deployed in the Puri Beach Area for segregating collection of PET waste right at the source and therby promote recycling. The initiative will also see a team of 30 youth volunteers encouraging people to dispose plastic responsibly rather than litteringthe beach on the 24th, 25th & 27th of June
All the PET bottles collected under the above programs shall be sent for recycling, thereby managing the PET waste in a sustainable manner and converting it from waste to wealth.