Berhampur, August 27 (LocalWire): Fifty-seven-year-old resident of Silk City, Sudhir Rout who has been campaigning against the use of plastic for over a decade was overwhelmed when prime minister Narendra Modi called upon the nation to make the country free from single-use plastics (SUPs).
During his monthly radio talk ‘Mann ki Batt’ on Sunday, the prime minister called for the launching of a mass movement against the SUPs from 2 October, to mark the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
In his Independence Day address too, Modi had called to make India free from SUPs.
“All those who are working against the use of polythene and plastic, are certainly going to welcome this decision of the prime minister,” Rout, who is also a teacher said.
“I am happy that the government has taken the task that we have been doing for one decade,” he said.
Standing near the vending zone, Rout started his campaign to motivate people to avoid polythene and plastic bags about a decade ago. During the period, he had distributed around 50,000 leaflets and published advertisements in the dailies requesting to plant trees and avoid the use of plastic.
Founder of Arya Bhatta Foundation, an organization, campaigning for the protection of the environment, he launched Sabuja Rath (a green chariot) to motivate people for plantation, conservation of water and avoid the use of plastic. The rath moved in several villages of Ganjam district, he said
Under his leadership, another chariot, named as Paribesh Jatha, was launched in 2018, which covered as many as 136 villages and five towns, including Berhampur to spread the same messages.
In the current year, Rout along with several senior citizens of the city conducted padayatra in different towns included Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Pipili, Khurda, and Balugaon against the use of plastic and in support of plantation and conservation of water.
“During the period, I had written a letter to chief minister Naveen Patnaik (on 5 July 2018) urging him to ban polythene. I was very happy when he announced to ban the use, stock and manufacture or transport polythene in six towns on 9 July, the same year.
“I did not claim that he declared the ban of plastic on my request, but I was happy as he did what we desired,” he said.
Rout said he had also written letters to Prime Minister at least twice urging the ban of the use of plastic. “We are now happy as he called the people to wage a war against the use of SUPs from Gandhi Jayanti,” Rout said.
Use of plastic is not only contributing to pollution hazards, but it also causes the death of several cattle,” he said, adding that it was common to find cattle roaming the streets and rummaging through garbage for food. Out of hunger, they eat plastic bags and other materials, which are not digestible. This causes harm to the animals,” he stated.