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Karishma Ravikumar

Year-Prize: The 11th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Beat Plastic Pollution

Comments 16 Comments    recommendations 3 recommendations



Karishma Ravikumar (United Arab Emirates)

UN Environment Prize


Beads of sweat trickled down my face as I helped unload our luggage from the car onto the trolleys at the airport. Pushing a trolley, I walked swiftly past the sliding doors of the airport, eager to be in the AC away from the scorching sun. Summers can be VERY intense where I live in the UAE. With a desert like terrain and climate, temperatures can even peak up to 45 degrees! So over the long school summer break during July and August, my family and I decided to fly to our native land Bangalore in India to escape from the harsh heat. After a day of rest from travelling, we set to the task of unpacking our suitcases. Soon we were surrounded by a messy trail of plastic shopping bags and covers with our things. After putting all of it away, I was in for a break and decided to accompany my mother for grocery shopping. Soon with items piled in the shopping cart we went to check out. At the checkout, the cashier inquired if we had our own shopping bags, to which we said no. Surprisingly, instead of plastic bags our stuff was put into cloth bags. This was good! In UAE and up until recently, even in Bangalore it was the norm to have our grocery packed in plastic bags. Sensing our surprise, the cashier went on to explain that plastic bags were banned in Bangalore and if we didn’t carry our own bags we would have to pay extra for ones at stores. A second glance at the bill confirmed the hefty price of the bags and we resolved to carry our own bags the next time we went shopping .A quick search on the internet revealed that the ban was in place not only in Bangalore but in many metropolitan cities of India. Through a simple inclusion of a price for bags, this initiative pushed people to not only reduce their plastic consumption but also to reuse eco-friendly bags from their homes. I feel that it has also been an eye opener for a lot of people who many a times do not realize that the things they take for granted like plastic bags can have a long term impact on the planet. Intrigued by this experience, I sat down to research a little more and was amazed/ pleasantly taken aback by what I found.  The plastic ban initiative had snowballed and led to a host of individuals and organizations carrying forward the idea of refusing plastic. It had triggered a sense of responsibility towards the environment in the city.One of these organizations, happened to be a popular neighborhood restaurant that I frequented. The restaurant had brought about a new rule that it would not send take-outs in disposables but instead requested the customers to bring their own utensils from home. Amazingly, many customers did not back out and slowly opened to the idea of refusing disposables. The idea was swiftly caught on by the neighboring eateries who enforced similar rules and discounts for people who brought their own utensils. Organizations like restaurants cater to a large base of people and can use this to their advantage to influence the choices and views of at least some persons through unique ideas like these. I felt the effects of these eco initiatives hit closer to home when a neighbor invited us and a few other families for dinner.  Instead of paper or plastic plates and spoons we were served on Patravalis which are plates stitched out of dry Sal tree leaves. Patravalis were long used in temples and festivals as a means for serving food on. These plates are a hundred percent biodegradable, fallen leaves are used. Initially the plastic plates took over their eco versions but the Sal tree plates are making a comeback as people are becoming aware of their benefits and uses, choosing them over plastic. Rapidly rising in popularity it is now a very common sight to see Patravalis in supermarkets. Sometimes a small push is all people require to do their part towards solving global problems. The plastic ban may have faced a reluctant population initially, as people would have brought their own bags to avoid charges. But slowly and surely small things like refusing plastic will become habitual until one day no fee is required to curb pollution and other environmental problems.  “LITTLE DROPS OF WATER MAKE A MIGHT OCEAN”, in the same way small individual efforts go a long way in making an impactful change in the environment. At the end of my vacation, rested and refueled I was ready to go back. But this time instead of plastic bags I cloth bags and armed with a couple of extra ones to use back here in the UAE. 






  • Yves SHEMA says :
    Posted 30-08-2019 21:17

Idrisa Lema

  • Idrisa Lema says :
    Great arrangement of concepts in a story form
    Posted 19-08-2019 18:01

Bal krishna Pandey

Akshita Singh

  • Akshita Singh says :
    Well written ...great concept
    Posted 10-06-2019 11:50

  • Aman Gangwar says :
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:35

Manjesh Jha

  • Manjesh Jha says :
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:33

  • Dikhsa Negi says :
    Posted 24-10-2018 21:06

Muskan Priya

  • Muskan Priya says :
    Beautiful essay!
    Posted 24-10-2018 02:50

Archa B Jayan

Kajal Saini

  • Kajal Saini says :
    Congratulations. You truly deserve it.
    Posted 23-10-2018 07:48

  • Neha Singh says :
    Posted 23-10-2018 05:18

Israel Adeoye

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

  • Sudipta Dash says :
    Very beautifully written...
    Posted 22-10-2018 15:58

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