What if all of the discarded plastic in the world—the waste clogging up roads, streams, rivers and oceans—could be collected and taken care of in a way that supports the poorest of us through hard times?
This is the thinking driving a green local government initiative in Ambikapur, a city of 112,000 people in the Chhattisgarh area of India.
At the presentation of the city’s municipal budget this week, Mayor Ajay Tirkey announced that 500,000 Indian rupees ($7,300) would be invested in a ‘garbage café’ in which people could trade plastic waste for a full meal.
For 500 grams of waste, anybody — particularly the so-called ‘rag-pickers’ and ‘garbage collectors’ who often do not make enough money to eat well — will be able to have a good breakfast. For one kilogram, they’ll be able to have a full meal.
The café will be set up in Ambikapur’s main bus stop, and all plastic collected will be used in the creation of a road through the city.
The city is no stranger to plastic-free programmes or social restaurant movements. The Times of India reports that people were recently entitled to free meals for proof of having participated in elections, or for sporting facial hair in support of the “Movember” cause.
In addition, the city has already built a road from 800,000 plastic bags, and the city plans to provide free shelter to homeless people who collect plastic waste.
According to Newsgram, the recent spate of policies have helped Ambikapur become the cleanest town in the region with solid waste management.