Multi-Event Campaign for a Plastic-Free India Attracts People in Large Numbers at Manaveeyam Veedhi

Educating the children on the ill-effects of plastics has become ultimately important, and the awareness on plastic menace should start from their homes, opined renowned sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman today. He was speaking after inaugurating the ‘Multi-Event Campaign for a Plastic-Free India’ at the Manaveeyam Veedhi in Vellayambalam on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi. Kanayi Kunhiraman inaugurated the campaign by drawing a picture at the venue. Implementing the ban on single-use plastics and creating a model village on the lines of what Mahatma Gandhi had envisioned has become the need of the hour, he said, adding that he would extend all support towards such an initiative.

The campaign organised by the city-based Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), along with various like-minded organisations, witnessed an array of renowned personalities assemble at the inauguration of the multi-event campaign. The call for making plastic producers take back their products after a certain period of time was heard aloud, as eminent personalities, school and college students, and the general public assembled in support of the ban on single-use plastics.

L Radhakrishnan IAS, who presided over the inaugural function, pointed out that it is a shame that Kerala has not been able to scrap the use of plastic even after so many years of realising the bane. He reminded the audience that the state of Sikkim had rejected plastic way back in 2002. Calling upon the government to strictly implement laws along with creating awareness against use of plastics, he said the laws should ensure that there is a complete ban on use of single-use plastics (SUPs). Besides, a ban on import and sale of such goods should be implemented, he said. He called upon everyone present to be part of the continuing campaign against plastics.

Dr Biju Kumar, Department of Aquatic Biology, University of Kerala, in his speech assured that CISSA would rope in youngsters to be part of the mega awareness campaign against single-use plastics and also towards bringing in alternatives to plastic. Along with this, CISSA would play an important role in putting pressure on plastic producers to be more responsible in a world that sees plastic as a menace.

G Suresh Kumar, film producer, who congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi in bringing about the idea of Swachch Bharat, said that he would try and convince actors to stay away from endorsing plastic products. Prof C P Aravindakshan, Principal, Govt Women’s College Thiruvananthapuram, and prominent science enthusiast, pointed out that the use of plastics has grown manifold due to the fact that the people have been going after low prices, bright colours and beauty. Use of plastics has to stop, he reiterated.

Speaking at the function, Dr C Suresh Kumar, General Secretary, CISSA, said that the earlier call to end the use of plastics was ignored by the consumers. However, it is a welcome sign that the government has taken the lead in convincing the plastic producers on the ill-effects of plastics. CISSA would rope in people’s participation to be at the forefront of such a movement, he added.

Arjuna Awardee Padmini Thomas read out the pledge against single-use plastics at the function. The prominent guests at the event signed on a signature wall erected at the venue in support of the ban on single use plastics. A message from prominent poet and environment activist Sugathakumari against the use of plastics was also read out at the event. U V Jose IAS, PRD Director; NP Rajeev, Vice Chairman, National Innovation Foundation; C Jayakumar, Executive Director, Thanal; Ajith Venniyoor, CISSA, and others also participated. Kummanam Rajasekharan, Former Governor of Mizoram; Venu Nair, Film Director; and many other prominent personalities visited the venue and offered support. Various programmes such as Poster exhibition on history and menace of plastics; Photo exhibition; Painting camp;  Cultural performance by school and college students; Exhibition of alternatives to plastics; and Stalls by NGOs were part of the Multi-Event Campaign. As many as 100 NCC cadets from the All Girls Battalion, school and college students, and the general public, participated. A live painting exhibition by Chithra Kala Sangham was also part of the event.

Rushdhamol R.S of Govt GHSS Cotton Hill won the first prize in Poster Designing, while Chitra Sivakami of Govt College for Women, won the second prize. In the Painting Competition, High School section Aswin B.Jayan of BVPCS Parassala won the first prize, while Karthik S  of Govt Model BHSS, Thycaud got the second prize; and Mukundan V.S of Govt. Model Boys HSS, Thycaud won the third prize. Vishnu J.S of Sandeepani School got the Consolation Prize. In the Higher Secondary Section, Lekshmi .C of Cotton Hill School won the first prize, while Angel G Oswin of Cotton Hill School won the second prize and Lekshmi. S of Cotton Hill School won third prize while Sandra of Cotton Hill School, got consolation prize. Renowned writer Dr George Onakkoor gave away the prizes to the winners of the competitions.

The Multi-Event Campaign was organised by CISSA along with RCE Thiruvananthapuram acknowledged by UNU; Nehru Yuvak Kendra; National Service Scheme;  Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram; National Green Corps; Lakhu Udyog Bharati; Earth Foundation; WWF; Thanal; Friends of Marine life; C5; Santhigram; Dept. of Aquatic Biology, University of Kerala; SCT Engineering College; and Tapasya.

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