Plastic would be banned in Kerala from January 2020 onwards. Kudumbashree had already started supporting this initiative with Kudumbashree's micro enterprise units that produce alternative products for plastic. As per the Government Order (G.O(MS) No.7/2019/Cir) plastic would be banned in Kerala from 1 January 2020. Kudumbashree is getting ready to partner in the fight against plastic and thereby make livelihood possible for women. Under the leadership of the respective District Mission Coordinators from the 14 districts of Kerala, Kudumbashree had already started making cloth bags regionally and had started conducting awareness programmes against plastic. The details of the activities of some of the districts are as follows.
There are 27 units that are producing cloth bags in Idukki. The details including the address, phone number and production capacity was handed over to Suchithwa Mission and Haritha Keralam Mission. The BUDS institutions in the district are making pen and other products out of paper. There exist a unit in the district that make napkin using cotton and 2 units which produce jute bag and file. At Munnar, an important tourist spot situated in the district, Kudumbashree had set up Haritha Check post. They collect plastic from the tourist vehicles that come to Munnar and give them cloth bags in return. Panchayath would take up the plastic waste then collected. Kudumbashree had also started making cloth bags partnering with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Haritha Keralam Mission and Munnar Grama Panchayath.
Activities had already been started for making cloth bags through 200 cloth bag making units in the brand name 'Pacha'. The activities are progressing with the partnership of District Administration. 300 units would be ready within one month. 1000+ women would get job opportunity through this. These cloth bags cost from Rs 2 to Rs 50. The cloth bags would be brought to the shops where respective units are located. With the help of the Local Self Government Institutions, these cloth bags would be brought to the outside markets as well.
There are 22 units in the district that make alternative products for plastic. This includes units that make cloth bags, paper bags and pottery. Following the ban of plastic in the state, activities are progressing to increase the production capacity of these units. Various Local Self Government Institutions are making cloth bags with the help of Kudumbashree women who know stitching and and are distributing the same among the households under the leadership of the respective Community Development Socities (CDSs). The cloth is procured and is given to them. The Local Self Government Institutions are calling for the meetings of the vendors and are producing cloth bags for them as per their needs.
There are 28 micro enterprise units that make paper bag and cloth bags, 2 units that make plates out of palm spathe and 8 units that make carpet and other products from cloth functioning in the district.At 10 BUDS institutions, paper pen, files, notebooks and other products of paper are produced. The catalog was prepared including the details of all these units and was handed over to Suchithwa Mission. Kudumbashree Malappuram District Mission had already given instructions to the units which make cloth bags and paper bags to collaborate with maximum number of institutions and make products needed for them. As per the request of the District Administration and Suchithwa Mission, 1.50 lakhs cloth bags would be produced by the units. The 12000 cloth bags needed in the block level would be handed over soon.
On 26 December 2019, an exhibition cum sales mela of different models of cloth bags was conducted along with the Christmas Market at Kalpetta including the apparel units that make cloth bags and also the apparel units that make other products. They had received order from business institutions for cloth bags. Entrepreneurs are visiting various institutions and are giving away the details regarding the units that make cloth bags. Awareness classes were also given about menstrual cups to reduce the usage of sanitary napkins. As part of this activity, 1000 menstrual cups would be distributed associating with Moopainad Panchayath.
Associating with the District Administration, Suchithwa Mission and Haritha Keralam Mission, through 140 Kudumbashree Enterprises, Kudumbashree District Mission is trying to make the ban of plastic a great success. These units are capable producing 25,000 bags per day. Loan is made available for these units at 4% interest rate. Arrangements had been made to buy these cloth bags in wholesale rates through District Mission. Cloth bags would be available through Panchayath counters as well.
There are 60 cloth bag producing units in the district. Training is being given to launch more such units.
There are 62 units in the district that make alternative products for plastic. Through these units alternative products for plastic such as cloth bags, paper bags, palm spathe plates, pottery plates, paper pens etc are being produced. Meeting of the office bearers of these units was called in convergence with Haritha Keralam Mission and Suchithwa Mission. 100% plastic free products were selected. The activities for bringing uniformity in the rates of these products is progressing. The exhibition cum sales mela of these production units would be conducted in the upcoming week. Brochure containing the details of these units would be prepared with the help of Suchithwa Mission and would be made available for the vendors and the public.
There are 16 units that make cloth bags in the district. Consortium would be formed by calling the meeting of these units. Through this consortium the needed raw materials for the units would be bought in bulk quantities and would be given to the units. Therefore cloth bags in same model would be produced. In addition to this, Cloth bag units would be formed including the Neighbourhood group members who had received training in cloth bag making. With the help of the block coordinators, the need of cloth bags for all panchayaths would be identified and the orders would be given to the units.
Likewise, various activities are progressing in the remaining districts as well. Through these activities, Kudumbashree is lending a helping hand in fighting back plastic.