All India Women’s Conference
Campaign on ‘Save the environment and say no to plastic’
All India Women’s Conference (AIWC), a ninety years old pan-Indian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) established, in 1927, with the primary focus of women’s education, emancipation, and empowerment. AWIC has steadily grown into a pioneer women’s organization working towards socio-economic empowerment of women. The organization has the membership of over 100,000 dedicated women volunteers working through a network of more than 500 branches across India. While climate change mitigation through the propagation of solar energy has been part of AIWC’s primary programs for the past three decades, our members have been consistently working on gender issues with a special focus on climate change for several years now at the national and global level.
Decades before the introduction of MDGs and SDG, Environmental issues have been one of the core focus areas of AIWC and we have been advocating for a climate-friendly sustainable lifestyle for past many years. In 2018 India is hosting the world environment day with the theme of “Beat the Plastic Pollution” and on the similar line, AIWC is launching a drive to spread awareness on harms of plastic usage and what can be alternatives of plastic.
“Plastic usage is harmful at multiple levels, not only does it choke the environment but also harms human health. Every time I visit Central Market, I feel disgusted with the amount of plastic generated in the area and more importantly the callous way it is thrown on roads. We decided to go beyond the four walls of office discussing the issue and chose to reach out to the citizens” – said Mrs. Kalyani Raj, Secretary General – AIWC.
The one day drive involved members of AIWC taking on the busy streets of Lajpat Nagar Market, one of the busiest market in Delhi accompanied with the Members of AIWC AVI College Eco Club to ensure a wider participation of youth. The group of 30 members in 5 teams spread out in the market area, spoke to the shopkeepers about evils of plastic, created awareness about the environment to the visitors to the market and advocated the use of cloth bag. The cloth bags of different sizes and rate were also sold to the consumers.
During the campaign, many of the visitors seemed to be aware of the issue but were not practicing it probably because they were not prioritizing it. Some remembered the age-old habit of their mothers or grandmothers always carrying a cloth bag but didn’t follow it because of availability of shop bags. The need to reduce the use of paper bags, deforestation, loss of bio-diversity were also discussed with the visitors as well as shopkeepers. In the process, the members were also able to sell cloth bags made by underprivileged migrant women in Haryana.
AIWC proposes to take this initiative forward by visiting the market in a month to assess the impact of the campaign and contribute to the best of their ability to the cause in an effective manner —
Syeda Tanbir Azmi
Documentation & Communication Officer
Wada Na Todo Abhiyan