It is rightly said that age is just a number and Tanish Singh, a teenager from Pune has proved the same with his initiative of saving the environment by combatting the use of plastic. The usage of plastic has grown tremendously over the years and has been instrumental in polluting our worthy environment.

To tackle this issue, Tanish decided to start a community called Forgo Plastic to build awareness among people regarding the harmful effects of plastic bags. He also started making paper bags and distributing them for free.

“Forgo means to go without, hence Forgo Plastic means boycotting the use of plastic. Nowadays, people use a lot of plastic for their daily household needs being unaware of other options. So Forgo plastic is an initiative to bring a change. Forgo is all about spreading awareness about use of plastic and the importance of its alternatives,” said Tanish who started this community in December 2019.

When asked about the inspiration behind this initiative, Tanish said, “One day, I was going to a shop with my mother and instead of taking a plastic bag she carried a jute bag from home. That inspired me to do something in this context. And I started this organisation named as Forgo, where I make eco-friendly paper bags and distribute them and spread awareness among shop keepers and common people.”

Talking about the challenges, Tanish expressed that he faced a lot of problems in finding the manpower. Tanish distributes the paper bags free of cost during the weekend to the general public and vendors. Every week, he aims to distribute around 200-300 paper bags.

He said, “I set a target of making 200-300 paper bags weekly. And I distribute them during the weekends to all the needy, reachable vendors. I’m continuously working towards making this community larger and to spread the initiative to all the parts of our country. In this, I’m trying to add my friends, school students and others.”

He also tries to convince vendors and create awareness among people about the harmful effects of plastic bags and motivate them to use better alternatives such as jute bags or fabric bags. He said, “I try to educate the vendors by explaining them the benefits of using alternatives to plastic bags. If they won’t sell things in plastic bags, then plastic use would ultimately be reduced. I also ask them to encourage their customers to bring their own jute or cloth bags.”

“Cutting down the usage of plastic will help in reducing the harmful effects it is causing to the environment. Paper is easily recyclable, reusable and readily available. Hence, use of paper will lead to sustainable development and optimum utilisation of resources,” added Tanish.

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