The long stretch of Kodi Beach is not just sand and palm trees; it’s unfortunately, also a lot of plastic. Plastic that is harming wildlife and spoiling what could have been a perfectly beautiful beach.
To better this situation, FSL India has partnered with Clean Kundapura Project, who have been arranging weekly beach cleanings regularly. FSL India’s HBP team and our volunteers have participated in the beach cleanings on 40 occasions, where, along with the local community, they have cleared the beach of plastic and other garbage. On 25th & 26th January, the 50th week of beach cleaning was celebrated with “Nirvana Beach Festival 2020” at Kodi Beach Sea Walk.
The plastic-free festival aimed to inspire avoidance of plastic and a reminder of the consequences mankind’s unthoughtful actions can cause in nature. The festival program attracted visitors through a variety of activities such as kite flying, music and dance, night sky lanterns, morning yoga and stand up paddle board. There were also several stalls serving food and selling local handicrafts.
Much of the art presented at the festival consisted of reused materials; many of which were collected during the Clean Kundapura Project’s beach cleanings. There was a selfie point from old and repainted sandals, empty bottles turned into lamp art. Visitors could also view the life of fishermen and mural art, as well as sand sculptures constructed by our team members.
More than attracting visitors from the local area, new contacts were made between different, like-minded organisations participating in the program. The festival provided a meeting point for people working for the same cause. Since the work for conserving the environment and towards a sustainable future requires many people to come together, the many experiences and thoughts shared during the weekend were highly appreciated and very inspiring!
The message ‘responsible use of resources’ was also conveyed through on-stage gigs. Children’s groups performed wonderful dances about the environment and marine life; there were speeches, quizzes and games. Our team from “Home Based Projects” at Shetrakatte performed a sea turtle puppet show. Additionally, we had a promotional stall close to the stage to inform about all their programs and to raise funds for our Tent School by selling paper products.
We also heavily contributed to the variety of food available for visitors. The FSL India food stall sold a large number of different Indian and international dishes. Customers could choose between Mumbai vada pav, Italian pasta, French crêpes and toasts as well as fried chillis and sweet cupcakes.
Though plastic in itself is a very useful and convenient material, there is a lot of harm when plastic waste is not managed properly. Still lacking a fully functioning waste management system, Kundapura region faces great challenges with plastic use. Most plastic wrappers, bottles, bags and other one-time use plastics are being put in landfills, burnt or thrown straight into nature. The festival made a serious effort to be plastic-free; though some vendors still put up snack and juice stalls just outside of festival premises. This meant one time plastics being easily accessible to the stream of visitors heading to and home from the festival.
Even people visiting an activity that is trying to promote plastic-free living couldn’t resist purchasing these items, despite many plastic free options just around the corner! Apparently it takes A LOT for people to rethink their choices; giving us the hint that influencing consumers to a plastic-free living is far from reaching a solution to the problem of plastic pollution.
Other parts of the holistic solution might, for example be providing alternatives that fully substitute the needs and wants of the consumer (which might mean investing in new materials), providing for an accessible and fully closed-circle plastic waste management system, introducing more law enforced regulations and rules against plastic use etc.
Hopefully, some of the festival goers were influenced to make changes in their life, but even more hopefully the ideas will spread to people who can actually make larger, systematic changes!
Our team had a lot of fun and hope to participate again in a similar festival for the 100th week of cleaning. Please join us for more beach cleanings on Sundays, at 4:30 pm in Kodi!
If you would like to contribute towards our Tent School children or Sea Turtle Conservation efforts, please write to email@example.com