On the environmental front, we plan to tackle the excessive generation of plastic. Project Cura specifically focuses on one important aspect of plastic consumerism i.e plastic grocery bags given out by fruit and vegetable vendors. People today are well versed with the harmful effects of plastic, but plastic grocery bags continue to be the most common single-use plastic used for packaging. To understand the challenges faced by people in their switch to sustainable options, we conducted a survey, and on compiling the responses of 150 people, we noticed an obvious pattern in their answers. Majority of the respondents claim that the unavailability of eco-friendly alternatives to carry their shopping at the site of purchase is the main hurdle in reducing their plastic consumption. Our goal is to initiate a local targeted solution in accordance with this observation.
On the social front, we aim to provide employment opportunities to impoverished women. The female labour force participation rate of India is one of the lowest in the world, and according to 2017 World Bank reports, less than a third of women in India are working or actively looking for a job. The pandemic has led to further escalation of the issue, and it has become even more important to provide women with resources and opportunities. Being three female students ourselves, we understand the importance of financial independence amongst women, and believe that they possess untapped potential that can lead to personal and collective development.
We wanted to develop a system that could combat the problems mentioned above in the most efficient way possible. This is why we came up with a comprehensive distribution and collection system involving local fruit and vegetable cart pullers, and their customers.
The pilot project will be limited to Defence Colony, New Delhi. We will be working with Sakshi NGO to employ destitute women to stitch cloth bags from waste cloth. These cloth bags will then be distributed amongst local fruit and vegetable vendors, and finally collected from their customers after use, and redistributed. It is explained in detailed steps below.
First, residents will be urged to donate old clothes/sheets through cloth donation drives organised by us. We will also contact local tailors and export houses to supply waste cloth. This will then be repurposed into cloth bags, stitched by women employed by Sakshi NGO, keeping in mind the optimum size and strength that is required. Finally, the bags will be distributed amongst the local fruit and vegetable cart pullers of Defence Colony under our system, free of cost. They will give these to their customers instead of plastic bags. Once used, the customers will be able to deposit their bags in the local drop-off boxes installed by us. The location thereof will be disclosed beforehand. Once we’ve collected the used bags, we will employ a washerman/washerwoman for washing the bags. After proper washing and sanitisation, these, along with a new batch of stitched cloth bags, will be given to the vendors again. Thus, another cycle of distribution, collection and sanitisation will begin. This will last a month, with 4 cycles. However, we hope to expand our project through promotions on Social Media, hosting fundraisers and bringing more residences under our system.
The total amount we require as funds is Rs. 40,000/-, and we hope that you can help us get there, and make our project a success!