TODAY -

Eco-warriors: For a green future

Birkarnelzelzit Thiyam *



Bringing in the light, innovations and expeditions are old mushrooms in our state. Saying so, the new start-up so called, ECO-WARRIORS isn't an exception to hold the list of our culture of innovations.

Khumanthem Gobindas Singh and Khundongbam Roshan Singh from Yairipok walked in my office the other day to bless me with their filament fussing idea on how to save a little of the environmental damage from their end.

"What made you push this to the end of line?" it was one of the first that I threw. "Agricultural wastes constitute one of the main alternative raw materials for the pulp and paper industry. Wheat straw, bagasse, reed, and rice straw as one of the important non-wood fibres sources for pulping and paper making.

Waste disposal is one of the most important problems facing anyone who wants to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. So many of the things we use every day get tossed in the trash and end up buried at the bottom of a landfill or down-cycled into less useful products.

Bagasse is commonly used as a substitute for wood in many tropical and subtropical countries for the production of pulp, paper and board, such as India, China, Colombia, Iran, Thailand and Argentina. Before even coming to Manipur, let's talk about India.

In the Environmental performance Index done by Yale university, out of 180 countries, India ranked at 180 in the list. That really broke my heart," he replies. To be in particular, Mr. Khumanthem Gobindas from Yairipok replied.

"What really gave you the idea of making people use the biodegradable plates made by sugarcane waste?" asked them. "We first saw a video on youtube of a Thai girl that was titled turning rice straw into gold. That really hit us a big time. Then the longing to know more grew in us.

"Is your mission only for Manipur?" I continued. Then they stressed on the points of - each country being envisaged and aspires to a greater economic dynamism and prosperity. And wants to be a creditor nation rather than being a debtor nation. But that is not easy to achieve.

It depends on the respective government's public policy, political and sovereign power and the overall laws of the country. Lasting prosperity is a result of a persistent commitment to low tax rates, a stable currency, limited government, strong private property rights, openness to global trade and financial flows, and sensible regulation.

With a population of 1.252 billion, the Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and a founding member of SAARC and G4 nations. Some of the largest cities in India are Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata. Changing climatic conditions and large disposable income has attracted large demographics to sea beaches around the country boosting the hotel industry in such locations.

They continued - today, carelessly discarded plastic bags around such beaches has raised several environmental problems in the country. The new environmental regulations, societal concern and increasing awareness have triggered the search for new products that are compatible with the environment. Biodegradable plastic can plug such a gaping hole between government and people. These polymers can be disposed of in a safe and ecological manner.

In emerging economies like India, such concepts are new and much related to cost associated with it. The cost of biodegradable plastic is three to ten times more than production of conventional plastic which might hinder the market growth. Increasing demand for biodegradable plastic in the region will lead to increasing demand for biodegradable masterbatches: key ingredients/raw material used in manufacture of biodegradable plastic, now being imported, will be manufactured majorly here in coming years, in order to meet the demand supply gap.

And also, Mr. Govindas continued on pointing out many unregulated waste disposed areas. He also showed numbers and lines supporting his views over the failed management of the related departments.

"Do you think we can really make this biodegradable substitution a possibility in Manipur or largely India?" I asked. The conversation went deeper. In the last few years, we have seen many brands become more environment-friendly and increase their focus on sustainability.

Due to the lockdown and increased in-home consumption, consumers became more environmentally-conscious as they saw a higher than normal packaging in their own home trash that cannot be reused or recycled. Consumers, especially Millennials and GenZ, want companies to take sustainability and greater purpose more seriously and take action towards the betterment of our country. They are even willing to shell out more money or switch to a smaller brand.

"Are the big companies going into this biodegradable movement?" I continued. Mr Govindas said, "According to media reports, companies such as Marico, Bacardi, ASICS, HUL, Nestle India, Future Consumer, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-co, Parle Agro will move to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025 helping towards a sustainable future".

We talked for hours, gained so much, and saw the green future through them. I would surely share more about them in my coming articles. Let's help people like them, start-ups like them. I know I haven't written much about their business but vision and concepts. I would bring them again to the light in my coming articles.

Eco-Warriors, a start-up that needs attention, a duo that needs a little watering - for they are on to building the best green cradle for our children.


* Birkarnelzelzit Thiyam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an International Awardee and also a major in International Business Marketing and art of oratory from Algonquin, Ottawa, Canada.
He is also the Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer of Khoihee Industries, regd. under the directorate of industries and commerce, Government of Manipur.
He can be reached at birkarnelzelzitthiyam3073(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 19 2022 .



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