Youth for Our Planet | News

There is no Planet B

Every Sunday, you can see a handful of young people carrying yellow trash bags, wearing colourful gloves on their hands and awareness posters on their bags, picking up plastic waste from Central Park, Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi, India while the visitors look on in curiosity. After a while, the same group of enthusiastic young volunteers, with their yellow bags now full of non-biodegradable waste, march to the recycler about 500 metres away, enthusiastically shouting “There is No Earth B!” all along the way. On one such Sunday evening, we caught up with some of the volunteers from the group or environmental community as they like to call it, who are doing tremendously great work in a country where non-biodegradable waste management still remains a huge issue.
How was ‘There Is No Earth B’ founded?
One day some of us were sitting in a cafe in Hauz Khas, Delhi and some people came in and started talking about plastic. The parking lot of the cafe was littered with plastic cups due to Rose milk being distributed for free.  As the discussion continued, 8 of us decided to clean up the parking lot ourselves and so we had our first impromptu cleanup that day. From July 2018, we started organising these clean-up drives every single week without break and we’re 63 weeks and 103 cleanups strong.
So what does TINEB do exactly? What are your goals towards the climate, wildlife and the environment?
We are an Environmental community who believe that there is no other planet for us to destroy after we have destroyed this one. Because we have realised that directly approaching people (requesting them not to litter) is unlikely to work, we go with the Gandhian philosophy of indirectly influencing people by their observation skills working against their desire to litter. We don’t have a leader or founder. People who come for the drive are the real stakeholders.
We did our research and found that CP has the maximum footfall on Sundays in Delhi and so we started doing these cleanups every Sunday in CP to create awareness. We observed that when you directly approach people to not litter, they get defensive and litter anyways, so we pick up their trash in front of them to raise awareness about Cleanliness and the harmful effects of plastic. So indirectly, we are influencing them to change themselves for the better and to stop littering the environment with plastics and other non-biodegradable waste.
Mainly, we do clean-up drives for awareness and proper recycling and segregation of the plastic waste. After every drive, we organise a small march to aware people about climate change and other environment-related issues. We do clean-ups in Central Park, Sanjay Van, Central Reserved Forest and recently did one in Death Valley, Faridabad where we cleaned-up a lake littered with plastic waste. The once littered lake is now flourishing again due to the removal of toxic plastics and other non-biodegradable waste. Our cleanups of forests, lakes and the one we did in Yamuna River help in facilitating the renewal of bio-diversity and promote healthy growth of organisms and wildlife. It also prevents the already present animals in the area from consuming these toxic wastes and prohibits the plastic from entering our food chain.
Other than this, we also do plantation drives, climate strikes and environment/ nature awareness workshops for school children. You can find all the details of our next drive on https://instagram.com/thereisnoearthb
What is the size of your environmental community? Do you only work in the Delhi region?
There is no size of our team as we believe that there is no registration to save the earth. People come as per their schedule. Sometimes someone will join us impromptu for one of our cleanups and then come back whenever they are free and on the other hand we have people who have never missed even a single cleanup. There is no boundation , people come for these cleanups according to their availability and we are open to all to join us to save the earth. We have 65 years aged man as well as a 6-year young kid as the member of our group who believes in saving our planet. Although , the average age group would be 20-25 years old.
It's been more than a year and there hasn't been a week in which we missed a clean-up.  We started with cleaning Rajeev Chowk and Central Park every Sunday evening but as volunteers increased, we started doing 2 clean-ups, one in the morning and one in the evening. We are active in the Western Ghats and also have some travellers as our volunteers who also do clean-ups in the areas wherever they go.  Recently,  one of our group members did a small clean-up in Andaman and Nicobar island and few other members did cleaning in Uttarakhand as well as Himachal Pradesh.
What happens to all the plastic waste that you collect and approximately how much plastic waste have you collected since the conception of TINEB?
We have tie-ups with several recyclers who collect the non-biodegradable plastic that we pick-up, segregate it and then send it for recycling. In this way, we’re also ensuring proper waste management of the collected plastic waste.
In the 63 weeks that we’ve been active, we have collected approximately 5 tonnes i.e. 5000 Kgs of plastic waste and sent it for proper segregation and recycling. We sometimes collect more than 100 Kgs of plastic in only one cleanliness drive!
Being an active youth environmental community, do you face any difficulties during your awareness/ cleanup drives?
We don’t face any difficulties as such but sometimes we do encounter some naysayers who are in disdain and can’t accept that change can be brought about by people. We encounter a lot of these naysayers but we just smile and walk on. Our duty is to make people aware and if the naysayers are thinking about it just because we are doing our job right, that’s the job half done!
Lastly, being a youth group, what will be your message to youth all around the globe?
“We haven’t inherited the planet from our ancestors, we have borrowed it from our children and we owe it to them to leave it better than we found it because There is No Earth B”