Is barter economy a myth? If we turn around the pages of history, the barter system dates back to 6000 BC. Mesopotamia tribes introduced it and Phoenicians were the first to adopt it. During the great depression, bartering became popular in the 1930s. As per the records, bartering sounds legit. What about the present? Is the system still in practice?
Yes, the barter system is still used. But for the greater good with no economic perspectives. Initially, products and services were traded in exchange of the same. Now plastic waste is exchanged for the services like a bus ride, education, to name a few. Indonesia is the world’s second-largest marine polluter, has incorporated this system to tackle the issues of plastic waste. A perfect approach for plastic waste management! India has leveraged the same approach and below are some of the initiatives that our country is taking.
Plastic Waste for Education: The initiative solves two significant issues with a single arrow. It takes care of literacy and eradicates plastic waste from society. Through this initiative, the students can receive free education in exchange for plastic waste. Mazin Mukhtar and Parmita Sarma came up with this innovative idea in 2016 and founded their school in Assam.
The school has a strength of 100 kids, and each kid brings in around 25 items of plastic. The students, along with the teachers, create various construction materials using plastic waste. Revenue generated from this activity is used for improving the infrastructure of the school
Plastic Waste for Food: The city of Ambikapur has taken up this initiative to curb the problem of hunger and plastic waste. Municipal officials have founded a unique garbage café scheme. The rag pickers and homeless can trade plastic at the garbage café in exchange for food.
As per the policy laid down by the municipal officials, individuals collecting 1 kg of plastic waste will receive a full meal, and those collecting 500g of plastic waste will be served breakfast. Apart from food, municipal officials have planned to provide shelter to over 100 homeless people in the city. These efforts led Ambikapur to rank second in the list of India’s cleanest city under the Central government’s Swachh Survekshan 2019 rankings
Plastic Waste for Mobile Recharge: Indian railways have addressed the issue of plastic waste management by encouraging passengers to use plastic bottles crushing machines installed at stations. In return, the mobile phone of the passenger will be recharged. At present, there are 160 bottle crushing machines available at 128 stations. The plan is to install 400 crushing machines at various stations. The customer will have to input his mobile number and deposit the plastic bottle. The number fed will act as a key to recharge the phone.
India generates 26,000 tonnes plastic waste daily, and this figure is likely to reach 34,000 tones if plastic waste management is ignored. Let us all handle the situation together to tackle the menace of plastic waste. Do you think the barter system is a good idea? Do let us know your thoughts on Bots ‘N Brains.
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