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Rajeshwari Singh started her journey way back but her long walk of 1100 km in 2018 from Vadodara to Delhi for spreading awareness of plastic pollution.
Nature has kept us all alive. So, before any other work, our first and foremost responsibility is towards nature. World Environment Day is one such day which is observed every year on 5th June to remind us all of our duty towards nature.
World Environment Day is led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and held annually since 1973, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach. It is celebrated across the world. This year’s host is Côte d’Ivoire in partnership with the Netherlands and the theme is ‘Solutions to plastic pollution’. It is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matter. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action.
Protecting environment in such surroundings when people are not bothered at all, it is a difficult and one of the most dedicated task. Across the globe many people are working day and night towards this motto of saving environment. When we talk about preserving the nature, there are countless hurdles but one of the most dangerous and hazardous is use of plastic. That’s why this year’s theme is based on that.
India has more responsibility towards the environment because we are a densely populated country, using nature’s precious resources rigorously. But there are also some heroes out there who are trying to do their bit and sworn on to protect the environment. In this article our hero is Rajeshwari Singh from Vadodara, Gujarat who started her journey way back but her long walk of 1100 km in 2018 from Vadodara to Delhi was a milestone when she decided to walk for spreading awareness of plastic pollution.
As, this year the #beatplasticpollution is the theme of the World Environment Day, we had a word with her about her walk and her zero waste store Zeroite.
Talking about when she realised her love for nature she told it was all during her boarding school days in Rajasthan, Mount Abu. “I have been brought up amidst nature and we never used plastic and used to walk wherever we had to go. In school, we were taught sitting under a mango tree two days a week, and that’s why the connection with nature grew from childhood”.
Prior to her walk she used to work in media and radio industry. But while working and seeing the souring changes in temperature she realised that now is the time she need to take some action on her own. “Campaigning was always somewhere in the back of my mind. Then I came to know that India has got a chance to host world environment day so I thought I should be a part of it so that I can connect with people on the ground level in villages, metro and this will give me a chance to know different people and localities and I will be able to convey my message to others. I was walking everyday in 40-45 degrees. There were many challenges indeed but my willpower was so strong that even I am not an athelete or so but I fulfilled my journey and spread awareness”.
Rajeshwari’s walk theme was “My Waste, My Responsibility.” Her aim was simple: to create awareness among the people she meets en route to stop the use of plastic and to use this opportunity to raise funds for her own organization. She walked with totally 0% pollution, avoiding any type of plastic packaged food, drinks or even water. For her walk she was supported by Gujarat tourism and UN environment.
Through her walk she made connections and people started trusting her. She did not want to stop her journey just yet so during the COVID she chalked out her next plane and in 2022 she launched an e-commerce/ online store of one of a kind in Vadodara and named it Zeroite.
Zeroite-the Ecospace is Gujarat’s first zero-waste store and cafe, filled with sustainable eco-friendly organic products. The store has a refill station where people can come with their bags and refill the daily ration like pulses, shampoo, oil etc. Also, the store sells many sustainable and organic products like soaps, neem comb, bamboo toothpaste and so on. The whole idea behind this is to make sure that plastic is totally out of your life so that everyone can contribute in saving the planet from this dangerous and non-biodegradable product.
Rajeshwari says that we human being are the most evolved species so our responsibility doubles. But, in the pace of development we have ignored our own planet like anything. She says “if you want to live a sustainable life, then all you have to do for starters is to observe. After waking up in the morning till sleeping at night, notice how much garbage you have thrown and how much of it was biodegradable. Try and use local and desi products for your day-to-day life”.
She put her message in such a way that if each one of us just imagine it for a while, we will understand that how the human race is killing the planet earth and other species. “Just think that the house you live in is your universe and everyday you are filling garbage in it. A point will come when you will start feeling ugly so much so that you would want that garbage out of your place at any cost immediately. About 50 Billion tons of plastic waste has ended in the natural environment and most of it will forever stay there. Now think, this is actually we are doing to the earth. We are just feeding the most dangerous and non-biodegradable product plastic to our planet and strangling it”.
The world is being inundated by plastic. More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 percent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers, and seas. Today, plastic clogs our landfills leaches into the ocean, and is combusted into toxic smoke, making it one of the gravest threats to the planet.
We have to stop being selfish and believe in co-existence. Only then we can survive. Remember you are not just killing yourself; you are killing the whole planet. Now is the time when we all have to BEAT PLASTIC POLLUTION.
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