Bring Plastic, Take Rice
A group of youths in Andhra Pradesh came up with a unique idea to encourage people to part with their non-biodegradable waste.
A group of youths from Peddapuram town in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district launched a social media group called 'Mana Peddapuram' (Our Peddapuram), a few years ago. The idea was to discuss issues affecting the town and act upon them. A few months ago, Naresh Pedireddi, who has been behind the group came up with the concept of ‘rice-for-plastic’. The idea behind the exchange was to encourage people to part with their non-biodegradable waste in large numbers. “The slogan we promoted was ‘Avoid Plastic - Avoid Hunger’. We wanted to get rid of plastic and also feed the hungry," says Pedireddi, a Peddapuram-based entrepreneur.
The programme was launched on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary on 2 October. Within days, the group was able to collect around 400 kgs of plastic and an equal amount of rice and other materials were distributed during the drive. Now they plan to do it every Sunday.
The plastic that was collected was deposited at the local municipality office. “They promised that it will be recycled,” says Pedireddi.
For a town of around 70,000 people, the amount of plastic they collected through these drives is just a drop in the ocean. But the group says that they will continue to raise awareness among the residents of the town.
"The most satisfying thing about this drive has been that it has inspired people in other towns of the district to launch such initiatives," says Pedireddi.
The Mana Peddapuram, besides raising civic issues like cleanliness, deforestation, and cultural events, has also run campaigns spreading awareness on blood donation and the pledging of organs.
The group claims that funds are not a problem as the people in Peddapuram are generous when it comes to donating money for worthy causes.
“We have hundreds of young people in this group and we hope to take up many more issues in the coming months and years,” says Pedireddi. We can only hope for many more such enthusiastic youth organizations that work for nation-building.