Last week I did a video on the waste heap at Brahmapuram. At that time, an old classmate of mine, Ranjini – a Chemistry teacher in an NSS College, with interest in environmental issues – and Ashok her husband came to Thiruvananthapuram, and brought me an indigenous mango sapling. Let me apologize to them because I did not get the time to collect it. They sent me a forwarded message. I do not know who created it but what it suggested was when you go to a hotel to order food, it will be good if you take vessels with you to collect it. That will be much better than bringing home food wrapped in aluminium foil or packed in plastic sachets.

Many of you know the benefits of these tiered lunch boxes. I’m doing this video in order to show their usefulness. For the last four-five years, whenever I travel, I have been carrying them in the back of my car. One advantage is that if I have guests, I don’t have to search for a tiffin carrier. The other is that on my way back home after hectic travel, when I collect food from a hotel, this comes in handy. Or, if I wish to take something for a friend or relative, I can avoid using such parcels, and take food in these carriers instead. Just keep a couple of these tiered boxes in your car.

If you order a vegetarian meal in Thiruvananthapuram – it costs Rs 250 – the number of plastic boxes and foils that reaches your house is astounding. Plastic takes a long time to decompose in soil. Cleaning them is a big job. Instead, if you choose a cheaper meal, say for Rs 40 or Rs 50, the plastic will be of low quality. Essentially, plastic is a harmful material.

Dr Ashley is a famous ophthalmologist. We had done a video on him earlier. What he said that day was that a tiny component in plastic enters our bloodstream, and gets lodged in the veins connected to our eyes. This is likely to cause blindness 10-15 years later. I’ve seen hot tea transferred in plastic sachets. That should be avoided completely. The same goes for hot curries. On the face of it, plastic does not seem to melt but its minute particles will melt, get mixed with the curry, and do harm to our eyes. All these are avoidable. I don’t know the harm plastic can do if it ends up in our liver or intestine. But we know that they can cause damage.

The second problem comes with disposal. Most people do not eat all the curries or pickles. So they fling the packets out. This will not decompose in the soil. The decent and ideal solution is to remove the contents, wash the plastic bags, and give them away to waste collectors. If that is not possible, we should at least turn the bag inside out so that some creature may eat the food, and thus clean the area. After I posted a video last week, one gentleman called me to say that he has a tortoise that eats up all the waste food materials. That is true. Tortoises are excellent scavengers. Their eggs are left on the banks of rivers, so that when the hatchlings come out, they can start feeding on waste materials, and keep the local environment clean. But I’m straying from my subject.

These steel tiffin carriers must replace plastic containers. People who go out on picnics, carry plastic parcels and, after having food, discard the plastic bags there itself. When an internationally- renowned dancer and her troupe came here to do a project with Invis Multimedia, she saw plastic waste near the river here, and went down herself to clean up the area. How did that waste land up there? The answer is – people mindlessly discard plastic bottles and bags everywhere.

Let me show you this tiffin carrier. It can be opened like this. Such containers are not made in Kerala but in Tamil Nadu. It even contains a plate from which you can eat. This has five tiers, and there are smaller containers inside, to hold pickles and other items. You can see even a spoon here. After all these individual pieces are reassembled, see how compact the box is! It is easy to use and very advantageous as well. It had a leather pouch too. This one can carry enough food for six persons. What is the difficulty in putting such a carrier in the back of your car? We even fit entire gas cylinders in the boot of the car, and think nothing of it! At the most, this carrier may weigh one kilo. If you do not feel shy about taking this along with you, stock a couple of them. It costs Rs 600 or so. This one has four tiers. It looks like our traditional vessel. Very compact. It can fit into your scooter storage compartment. You can have up to five dishes here. That is, it can hold lunch for an entire family. This one is slightly bigger. This can carry enough for three. This has four tiers. This one has three.

Please buy two of these. Keep one at home and the other in your car so that you can use it whenever you require. After use, you can clean it, and put it back in the car. Ninety percent of your plastic problem can be solved if you buy this. You might worry over what others might think, seeing you holding a carrier and walking into a hotel. You might worry that they will take you for a factory worker. But walk with confidence because you’re doing this for the good of your land and your soil, and to protect the trees. Do it with cheer, with responsibility, with courage, and with pride. Please buy it. I haven’t opened a vessel shop. So this is not to canvass business for myself. But I’m think of starting a vessel shop because these carriers are difficult to procure. They are made in Salem, and I’m wondering whether I should bring them to Kerala. So, please procure them from somewhere. I request that you shift to steel vessels. This is a plea for the sake of everyone.