Bhograi: Tamil Nadu-based Insanibel Joseph Raj, 21, is on a march – Plastic Free India – from the east to the south to generate awareness about the harmful effects of plastic on humans and the environment.
Joseph started from Howrah in Kolkata August 27. After walking 180 km in the last six days, he reached Bhograi in Balasore district Monday. At the Bhograi-Jaleswar border, he spread his message while walking and asking the public and shopkeepers not to use plastic and explained its harmful effects.
Joseph said plastic is a material made to last forever but 33 per cent of all plastic things – water bottles, bags and straws – are used just once and dumped. Plastic is not biodegradable. It just breaks into smaller pieces.
Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly everybody. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other medical problems. Plastic also spoils ground water and it piles up in the environment.
Plastic harms wildlife as they eat it or mistake it for food and feed it to their young, and it is found littered in even extremely remote areas.
Joseph walks “30 km to 40 km” every day without any help. Some organisations and individuals are promoting his march. He is walking fearlessly to complete his march without caring even for sometimes hostile weather.
When this correspondent met Joseph he said, “We should use biodegradable bags instead of plastic to save the environment. If everyone avoids the use of plastic then India will become plastic-free in future.”
Odisha produces around 27,859 tonnes of plastic waste per annum, according to a random survey conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2015-16 across the country.