India has announced the establishment of the first ‘Garbage Café’ that will offer free food in exchange of plastic waste.
The fact that more than half of the total 1.4 Billion citizens of India are surviving in poverty, of which many struggle to provide their families with proper food, is evident of the urgent need to take some significant action. In parallel to this, the country also has a problem of plastic waste generating around 26,000 tons of plastic waste every day.
Inspired by similar projects in Cambodia and Belgium, an idea of finding a common solution to both poverty and plastic waste has been proposed, the first garbage café of India. To be built in Chattisgarh’s Ambikapur city, this garbage café will offer a full meal by swapping 1kg plastic waste and free breakfast for 500gms of plastic waste.
According to the Global Hunger Index 2018, the level of hunger in India has become serious and necessary steps are needed to be taken. Now, the poor can get a complete meal of lentils, rice, rotis, curry and papadams in exchange of 1kg plastic which can be collected in a couple of hours. For breakfast, they provide samosas, stuffed flatbreads or lentil doughnuts.
The garbage café will be built in a converted bus shelter and the garbage collected all through the day will be sent to a plastic recycling plant that turns the waste into plastic granules, which is further used in road surfacing. In India, over 34,000kilometers of roads are surfaced with plastic, especially in the rural areas.
The present ruling government, BJP has promised to make India free from single-use plastic by 2022. Though it is much of an ambitious statement to make as back in 2015, only 14% of the world’s plastic waste was recycled, still hopes are high to see a remarkable change. However, hunger crisis is quite crucial to be attended. India is among the world’s top countries with highest child under-nutrition rates. It is quite a big deal to challenge these problems in a country with the fastest growing economy and home to a population of 1.4 billion people, but with these kinds of steps, such as the garbage café, it doesn’t look impossible.
It is in a way a very smart initiative to help the planet on a whole.