Plastic pollution and Hunger are the two problems that India is struggling with every day. Plastic pollution refers to the presence of plastic in and around the land that surrounds us. This is generally due to the single-use plastic that we use for once and throw away as garbage. On the other hand, society is diseased with undernutrition and hunger. There are people from the underprivileged section of the society who are unable to earn their meals even twice a day. But why are we talking about it right now?

It’s because there is an Indian city, which has found a simple solution to both of these problems. Ambikapuri, a small city of Surguja district of Chattisgarh state, having a population of less than 2 lakh people, has come up with a single solution which can reduce plastic pollution as well as a fight hunger problem, both and at once.

The municipal authority governing the district has come up with an idea of Garbage Cafe Scheme. In this scheme,   & homeless people who generally make their living by either begging on signals and public places or by rag picking are asked to collect plastic and bring it to the cafe. In return, the municipal authority supported cafe will provide them with food.

The scheme states that a person will get a whole meal (Lunch/Dinner) in exchange of 1 kg of plastic and a breakfast meal in return of 500 grams of plastic collected. This is a nice way to motivate people to help in cleaning the city. Ajay Tirkey said that the cafe will be run from the city’s main bus stand. He addressed media during a summit where he presented the local budget for the city.

But what is the municipality going to do about all that plastic?

Well, they have it sorted. The local authority is already using plastic to make roads. To build roads which are more stable and strengthened, shredded plastic granules & remains are the best option. Also, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana has rather mandated the utilisation of hazardous plastic refuse for road construction. This is because the roads which are made using plastic & asphalt are long-lasting and don’t get washed away in heavy rains as water is unable to penetrate through the plastic. 

Not only this, besides trying to clean the plastic, eradicate hunger and developing infrastructure of the city, the local authority is also aiming to provide shelter to over 100 homeless people in the city.

Currently, the authorities have been able to allocate a fund of half a million rupees for the said purpose. However, as told by the officials, in case the fund falls short in meeting the targets, then representatives of public i.e. MLAs and MPs will be sent proposals to put a forward hand to help the agenda with their allocated MPLADS (Member of Parliament Local Area Department Scheme ) & MLACDS(Member of Legislative Assembly Constituency Development Scheme) funds.

Under Swachh Survekshan 2019, Ambikapur was declared India’s 2nd cleanest city, jumping 15 places from last year. The city has removed all the open dumping sites. The city had developed a ‘Sanitation Awareness Park’ which is well decorated with trees and ponds in May 2016. This was done by converting a massive 15-acre garbage landfill into the park.

The city has also received a 5-star rating under “Garbage Free Cities”. The city is successfully enforcing a door-to-door segregated waste collection programme. 100% of the waste collected gets treated in the city of itself. 

The city has indeed made notable efforts in making it’s a way to the list of top cleanest cities of India. The idea of giving food in exchange for plastic waste and using the plastic to construct roads proves the efforts of the local authorities to make the city greener and cleaner. If the system is well implemented in future as well, the city can set an example for other cities of India