Article By - Aman Singh
Youth of Udaipur and USA got together to create and organize a three day project which concluded today to reduce the consumption of plastic bottles in the city.
The initiative was facilitated by Shikshantar and Leapnow, an organisation based in California to raise awareness about the environmental and health effects of drinking plastic bottled water. Many of these plastic bottles are not properly recycled and end up polluting the lakes and streets. The students played a prominent role in this project.
The first day of the project was spent in meeting hotel and cafe owners and interacting with tourists. Barbara, from the US, said, “I was most surprised to meet one shop owner who was only charging seven rupees for a new bottle of water, the cost of the bottle. When I asked him why he did not charge more, he said that I don’t believe in making profit by selling water. Water is something sacred in our Indian culture.”
The second day was the day of action with the a team believing that as long as there is no RO water promoted, there is little chance they will ask to get a refill. The group focused on identifying and partnering the cafes that have a RO machine Posters, stickers in windows and zero waste flyers were put up in these interested hotels and cafes as refilling stations across the old city.
Savage Garden, Chandpol, Wonder View Palace, Hanuman Ghat, Mandiram Palace, Hanuman Ghat, The Palace View, City Palace Road , Lake View, Jagdish Chowk, Lotus Cafe, Bhattiyani Chohata, Rang Niwas, Lake Palace Road, 51st Palace, near City Palace, Hotel Sarovar, Chandpol are some of the hotels that have agreed to offer RO water and serve as official zero waste refills.
On the final morning, the team decided to reconnect with the traditional pyaoo system, offering free purified water in a way that has been sustained for hundreds of years across India. With a pushcart, posters and water refill station, many volunteers stood outside Jagdish Temple.
Matt Christian, a student from the US, said, “I was amazed that so many tourists were so concerned about reducing the waste in the city.” Amidst the singing and drumming, tourists were encouraged to fill their bottles and look out for the refill stations that we had established the previous day. We also had many responses to our survey which revealed that 95% tourists would gladly refill their bottles.”
Tourists actually care about the Udaipur culture and environment and businesses and hotels need to recognize this.
Ganesh Ghatti zero waste warrior, Vishal Singh Dhabai said, “We understand this is not an issue that can be fixed in three days or that this is not just a single issue isolated from other waste and environmental issues, but it is a step in developing greater awareness and consciousness in our city. We were happy to see so many hotels and cafes who were sincerely interested in supporting this cause.”