Disposable plates made from leaves empower women in India’s Odisha state

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Women self-help groups (SHG) in the Indian state of Odisha are producing eco-friendly plates made from sal leaves amid the plastic ban imposed last month.

Footage filmed on Tuesday shows the production process from harvesting in the forest to packaging for distribution.

According to Harihar Patra, Forest Range Officer, this is also a way to increase these women income.

“Through the forest department we have arranged these women from 5-6 villages and formed a group with the help of the SHG team. They will collect the sal leaves which are available in the forest and make sal leaf plates from those leaves. We have trained them on how to make these plats so they can get an income,” said Harihar Patra, Forest Range Officer.

After harvesting, women organise and sew the leaves together. Then, manually or with the help of a machine, they shape the plates that will later be compressed with pieces of cardboard and packed for sale.

“Now polythene being banned in the state, this job is very good for us. This plate is good for your health if you eat your meal in this plate and it’s good for the families and society,” said Kumudini Bag, an SHG member.

The state of Odisha State banned single-use plastic in all urban areas in October. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced a plan to ban six different types of single-use plastics, including cups, plates, small bottles and straws, in the coming years.

Video ID: 20191119-049

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