Weddings, ceremonies are an expensive affair in our country and families go all out to ensure the guests are served the best food and looked after well. Beneath the pomp and gaiety lie humongous amounts of wastes, mostly plastics.
Single-Use-Plastic (SUP) is one of the biggest polluters during any occasion in our country. From packaging gifts to cutlery, SUP accumulation is quite high and worrisome.
With the government appealing to the common man and industries to shun the usage of plastics, the women, belonging to the Gorkha community, from Uttarkuchi in Baksa district of Assam has shown we don’t need fancy cutlery to enjoy a hearty meal. Plates and bowls made of leaves from local trees are a way out to beat plastic menace. These are cheap and eco-friendly.
Speaking to Time8, Shanti Bhujel said, “We make plates and bowls using leaves of local trees like banana and paat. Also, it is part of our tradition to eat in eco-friendly plates. These plates are low on pockets and our women know how to make it.”
She added, “We supply in bulk during śrāddha and wedding ceremonies. Presently, we are preparing such topori (plates) and duna (bowls) for Dashain (also Bijayā Daśamī). Usage of plates made from leaves will help in curbing pollution.”
India is likely to impose a nationwide ban on plastics from October 2nd, 2019 as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to reduce the use of pollution-causing SUP.
Another woman said, “Our forefathers sued in plates made from leaves as it was nature-friendly. Bamboo sticks and leaves are required to make such plates and bowls. Eating on banana leaves also has health benefits.”
It may be mentioned that under the flagship of Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin, Assam, the Baksa PHE is motivating people to save money by using bowls and plates made of banana leaves as they are easily available in the villages for any occasion.
Photos: Nanda Burathoki Chetry