With India estimated to generate 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, media professional Abhimanyu Chakrovorthy, 31, has set off on a 10,000 km crowdfunded motorcycle expedition through India and five neighbouring Southeast Asian countries to spread awareness of its pernicious effects and to encourage people to shun its use.
“I have always been conscious about issues such as climate change and wildlife, and I used to practise the concept of outdoor ethics called ‘Leave No Trace’ in the Himalayas where you pick up your own waste and dispose it off properly.
“I am also a motorcycle enthusiast. So this presented a unique opportunity to merge my two passions. So I’m travelling New Delhi to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Nepal, covering more than 10,000 km, to raise awareness about plastic pollution,” Chakrovorthy says.
Through tie-ups with NGOs and schools in the five countries, Abhimanyu has planned beach and city clean-up initiatives and will conduct short sessions/presentations with them on the global scenario in plastic pollution and what India is doing to fight it. “I’ll share knowledge about India’s waste management system, and also learn from them their solutions to the plastic pollution problem. Some of these countries have taken affirmative action on plastic and I want to understand more of what and how they’re doing it. The focus of my work will be on reducing, reusing and recycling waste as much as possible. Through this trip, I plan to document plastic consumption in these countries and their waste management processes,” Chakrovorthy explained.
The planning, he said, had been quite a nightmare as far as cost was concerned. For instance, he figured it would cost Rs 70,000 one way through Myanmar and at least Rs 80,000 one way through Thailand.
“At this stage, a friend told me about (crowdoutsourcing platform) Milaap. This presented some hope because I couldn’t bear the cost on my own. My target is Rs 3 lakh and till now I have reached just Rs 40,000 but I am hopeful my story will resonate with people and some funding comes through Milaap,” Chakrovorthy explained.
What of the future? “I will be organising a few more clean-ups in association with embassies and institutions such as Delhi Civil Defence and Delhi Police focusing on communities and societies by asking them to moderate their consumption so that less waste ends up in our ever-increasing landfills,” Chakrovorthy concluded.