Bits & Pieces May 10, 2018 by Shanti Moorjani

Person of the Planet, Deepika Tahiliani, lives in Mumbai, India. She is married and a mother of two teenagers. A few weeks ago I wrote about the 36 railway station project of painting murals to draw attention to the importance of planting Mangrove trees. That article was on April 13, 2018 if you wish to review. Deepika, an artist, designed the mural for one of the stations and organized the execution of the work. 

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Deepika has helped on several worthy projects that are helping the planet. When Mumbai outlawed plastic a month or so ago, Deepika sprung into action. She worked with a group that teaches women below the poverty level to make "jholas" (cloth bags).

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Jholas are perfect for shopping and replacing plastic. This was a team effort with her community which trains women with sewing skills, using donations of material from a garment factory. The women receive 30 rupees (about $.50) per jhola.  There was an overwhelming response to the project. In one day they sold 80 bags, their whole supply, taking orders for more. By the end of the day, 250 bags were purchased or ordered.

Mumbai discovered that plastic bags in their sewer system was a big cause of flooding in recent years during the monsoons. Hence, one of the reasons plastic was banned. To reduce the need for plastic bags, Deepika worked with groups to show them how to fold old newspapers into  cone-shaped bags to hold the garbage. The bags are simple, and newspaper is readily available and biodegradable.

Sara L. asked me what do people do with garbage in Mumbai? It's a practical question. Having spent a lot of time with relatives of my husband in Mumbai, I deferred to him. Each household keeps a hard 2 gallon size plastic container with top on the counter. This collects food scraps and small pieces of garbage. Most buy produce daily at the many street veggie carts, so less packaging is generated.  Each street has a small local hand pick up garbage from each household every morning. This is transported to the big garbage truck on the main street, men working like busy bees. India has a vast labor force.

Lastly, low-flow faucet heads is the recent project Deepika has undertaken to educate people about using less water. We went out and bought several faucet heads after reading her note. They are easy to install and really make a dent in water consumption.

Deepika shared, "It is wonderful to be useful.  The idea is to use all our resources in moderation. The state of the planet is pathetic because man overdoes the use of a good resource thereby making it useless. Plastic by itself is amazing......lightweight, inexpensive, and durable. We converted this wonderful resource into a curse."

Thank you Deepika, from a far, for doing an active part to help the life of this planet.

Next week I will share my notes from the first chapter of the book "A Global Warming Primer" by Jeffrey Bennett. Are you reading with me?