Mangaluru: The Plastics For Change India Foundation built Karnataka’s first environmental-friendly Recycled Plastic House in an attempt to develop and improve the quality of life of informal waste-collectors across the coastal belt of Karnataka.
The Foundation has launched an innovative and environmentally sustainable project that converts hard-to-recycle plastic waste into a building material that can be used to construct a low-cost shelter. They built Karnataka’s first environmentally friendly Recycled Plastic House at Pachanady in Mangaluru and handed it over to a waste-collector on 10 November at the Dr B R Ambedkar Hall, Pachanady(in the outskirts of Mangaluru).
Plastics for Change India Foundation, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shifra Jacob, Director Chandan M C, Project Coordinator Mrs Jayanthi, and Project Director Women’s Welfare Society, Surekha D Patil were present during the handing over of the uniquely-constructed house to the beneficiary.
The first recycled plastic house of Karnataka built at Pachanady was handed over to a scraps-collector, Mrs Kamala; having worked for the past 20 years and retired six months ago. Earlier, the tent she was living in, collapsed during the monsoons. In the event of the collapse, she fractured one of her legs. Noticing the plight of workers like Kamala, Plastic for Change India Foundation decided to construct a plastic house and donated it to her.
“The 350 sqm house was constructed in association with a Hyderabad-based construction partner ‘Bamboo Projects’ at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakh within the span of 15 days. We have plans to construct more of such houses for economically weaker sections with government support. The construction cost can be reduced to Rs 3.5 lakh if more houses are constructed simultaneously. Nearly 1500 kg of plastic comprising of low-density plastic (LDP) multi-layered plastic (MLP) and other plastic waste such as tetra packs and gutka packets were used in the construction. As many as 60 such panels were used to construct the plastic house” added Project Coordinator, Jayanthi. The house consists of one kitchen, one hall, one small room and an attached bathroom.
The worker community of waste collectors forms the backbone of the solid waste management system in India; providing a valuable service to society and contributing to environmental sustainability. Despite their commendable service, they face great difficulty in finding affordable and steady homes.
Project Coordinator, Mrs Jayanthi said, “In light of the adverse situations, the Plastics For Change India Foundation has launched some new initiatives to help the community cope with the new reality imposed by the pandemic. We have built a water tank in the community, providing them with a consistent water supply—a resource that they had to wait for 2-3 days to access previously and faced constant issues in storing hygienically.
The Foundation currently runs social development programs in the regions of Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Karwar, Udupi, Hubballi and Dharwad and have provided support to approximately 10,000 waste-collectors across Karnataka so far. Two of the many communities that the Foundation works with are located in Pachanady and Kurikatta area in Mangaluru.
The foundation has initiated multiple holistic interventions for the community here ranging from helping them gain access to social securities and identities, bank accounts and financial literacy, running health awareness and camps, education for children, nutrition for families, also conducting COVID-19 relief drives providing them with food rations and PPE kits. The local government and Women’s Welfare Society (Local Partner) are collaborating with Foundation to provide services to this marginalized demographic.
To ensure that the children from low-income communities have continued education, they have stepped in by providing supplementary tuition classes and set up virtual online classes (with smart tv ) for high school students in the community. Apart from ensuring that social-distancing protocols were maintained, the classes were also provided with nutritional supplements for its attendees.
The Plastic for Change India Foundation has also set up virtual online classrooms for 40 students and are conducting awareness programmes on mental health, education and nutrition. They have conducted drives on getting social identity cards such as Aadhar card, Ayushman Bharat card, labour card, and profession card to helpless communities.