By – Avanti Jaiswal

The current state of environmental crisis.

The current state of environmental crisis.

The environmental crisis is really a crisis of consciousness. Most people know the natural world is facing great challenges and degradation, but few know the true extents of the changes and deprivation the environment faces and its extended effects on human welfare and all other life on Earth. There is a great gap between the multitude of problems the environment faces on all fronts and the level of awareness most people have on these issues. Symbiosis Institute of Planning, Architecture and Design conducts internship on such sensitive issues. They provide students with a sensitive topic every year which creates awareness and opportunity for students to explore and work for these issues.

This year (2019-2020) topic raised for summer internship was “ZERO WASTE DESIGN”. Zero waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators or the ocean. The intention of sustainable design is to "eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skilful, sensitive design”. Sustainability and design are intimately linked. Quite simply, our future is designed. The term “design” is here used to refer to practices applied to the making of products, services, as well as business and innovation strategy — all of which inform sustainability. Sustainability can be thought of as the property of continuance; that is, what is sustainable can be continued into the future. Students were given tasks on different aspects of sustainability. Tasks included from researching to designing eco-friendly packaging’s and products. Students worked on planning and setting up as different NGOs with new and unique concepts. The motive behind these internships are always to create awareness for long period of time. Inspired from internship topic, I, Avanti Jaiswal student of product designing started to live a zero-waste lifestyle. While researching about my internship topic I came across newspaper article which said “Killed by plastic: 80 bags in whale’s stomach”.

After watching this newspaper article, I decided to eliminate plastic entirely from my life, which was not that easy because from Q-tip which we use to the footwear which we wear every little thing is probably made out of plastic or is packaged in plastic. Then I started making my own products like toothpaste, soaps, lotion and many more.

Eliminating plastic was perfect step to start but I thought why not try a complete ZERO WASTE LIFESTYLE which was my current internship topic, and now I live a zero-waste lifestyle. This lifestyle is cost effective, accessible, and fun Though we produce less waste in India but still many Indian streets are seen dirty. I strongly believe that since India already produces less waste than some other countries so, if we set our mind, we can become the country with lowest amount of waste. People think it is almost impossible to live a zero-waste lifestyle or it is not easily accessible but it is actually very easy to take baby steps and succeed.

In fact, it is more affordable and the best thing, you can save so much of money. In the age of modern living, we are generating more and more dross, most of which is unnecessary plastic waste, which will never decompose. Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans. If this goes on, it is expected to increase up to two trucks per minute in 2030 and four in 2050. This means by 2050 there will be more plastic found in the oceans than fishes. This has to stop! And such big changes need small beginnings like eliminating single use plastic, buying new products cleverly, start composting.

Believe on 5 R's of waste management- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse and Rot

Following these simple five steps will reduce your waste all of a sudden. This is my small initiative which can help our future generation. I hope everyone reading this will try to take positive steps and help our only Earth. Creating awareness is great but greater is trying to do it first.