Message in a Plastic Bottle

We do not always realise how important and how dependent we have become on all kinds of plastics.

If we look around the stuff we use on a daily basis, we will be surprised at the percentage of plastic that we consume. Plastics are one of Nature's worst enemies and they do not biodegrade, polluting the Earth for millennia. A large percentage of plastic trash come from disposable water bottles ... we drink the water and throw the bottle away. Sometimes plastic trash is burst thus expanding the ozone layer, at other times they become a part of the ever increasing landfills.

The Great Pacific Trash is a gyre of plastic trash in the North Pacific Ocean spanning between 700,000 sq km to more than 15,000,000 sq km, or as in some reports, up to "twice the size of continental United States".

As it disintegrates over time (but never biodegrades) it is ingested by aquatic animals and enters our food chain, gradually poisoning all who eat that food!

In the next couple of years the Indian bottled water industry is slated to cross Rs 1500,00,00,000. This will translate to over 75,00,00,000 plastic bottles trashed and discarded every year or more than 20 lakh bottles every day. It will not biodegrade and will end up in landfills or in the many rivers around the country... including the Holy Ganges.

Flower girl on Ganges

The Ganges is the holiest of rivers that flows down this land, sustaining over half a million people. The Ganga basin is the rice bowl of India feeding people all across the land. Yet, the Ganga is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Faith springs eternal and the faithful believe that nothing can harm or contaminate the holy waters. Consequently, there are religious contaminants and industrial contaminants. In certain areas of the river, it is virtually dead with oxygen levels at alarmingly low levels and the water considered harmful even for bathing. Aquatic life is slowly choking to extinction and if we are not careful, the river one day will wail out in agony, "That's it, I cannot take it anymore."

OTA Survival School is embarking on a unique expedition to bring to the public consciousness this scourge of modern society. A boat will be constructed entirely out of plastic bottles. This plastic bottle boat will then be used to sail down the holiest and most important river of the country - the Ganges.

We will start from Kanpur, arguably one of the most polluted city along the Ganges, and paddle the plastic bottle boat to Varanasi, the oldest living city in the world and one of the holiest in India, a journey of about 500km.

The boat will be constructed on the banks of the River Ganges and the material will be collected from trash and garbage strewn around in the surrounding areas. We will collect it not only from garbage dumps, but also from hotels, restaurants and dhabas.

There is no limit to the number of boats going down the river. Volunteers are welcome to lend their support, help in constructing the boats and then paddle it down the rivers. If you are interested in lending support to MESSAGE IN A PLASTIC BOTTLE, send us a mail and we will take it from there.

Stopping on the way, camping at a different village/town/city en route, the message of REFUSING | REDUCING | REUSING | RECYCLING plastic bottles will be propagated.

We appeal to you to contribute towards the MESSAGE IN A PLASTIC BOTTLE cause and together let us leave a planet cleaner for our children. If you would like to contribute, please let us know. We will be highly obliged and grateful.

If each of us pledge to stop adding to trash, in a matter of days India can become the cleanest country in the world.