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The Garbage Cafe !

How does a city solve its hunger and plastic waste problem at the same time?

Ambikapur is a city with a population of just under two lakhs, located in Chattisgarh’s Surguja district. In an attempt to find a solution to the twin problems mentioned above, its municipal officials have launched a unique garbage café scheme.

At this café, ragpickers and the homeless will collect plastic waste, and in return, the municipal corporation will offer them food.

As per multiple reports, those who collect 1 kg of plastic waste will receive a full meal, while those collecting 500g will be served breakfast. The plastic collected by the municipal corporation will be used to construct roads. Besides offering food, there is also a definitive plan to also provide shelter to over 100 homeless people in the city.

The café will open on August 1. There are two reasons why they have started this scheme. First, the growing rise of plastic, particularly carry bags, has become a serious issue despite running constant checks on various commercial establishments. So, through this, they are trying to address the plastic problem. Second, there are around 100-odd homeless families for whom they will at least provide meals.

This scheme also is part of the city’s more extensive cleanliness campaign. Under the Central government’s Swachh Survekshan 2019 rankings, Ambikapur was declared India’s second cleanest city, following Indore in Madhya Pradesh, jumping 15 places from last year. The city has no open dumping sites. In fact, the city had converted a massive 15-acre landfill into a ‘Sanitation Awareness Park’ marked by trees and ponds in May 2016.

The city has made tremendous progress by executing 100% door-to-door waste collection and segregation, and all the waste that is generated gets treated in the city itself.

In many ways, the garbage café scheme, if implemented well, can further strengthen the city’s robust waste management system.

Reference: The Better India

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