Octogenarian artisan makes clothes out of plastic waste in Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal, Jun 5 (EFE).- After retirement, Nepal’s Babu Kaji Maharjan, 82, started weaving clothes and accessories using thread made from plastic waste as a way of earning an income.

The octogenarian showed EPA his workshop in Patan, one of Kathmandu’s three erstwhile royal cities, where he was making a handbag using plastic milk cartons.

“I believe that by using waste plastic, I am contributing to the environment and I no longer have to depend on my sons for pocket money,” Babu Kaji tells EPA on the World Environment Day, which this year is being held under the Beat Plastic Pollution theme.

Babu Kaji retired from his job at the age of 60. The day after he stopped working, he was meandering through a vegetable market when he spotted a 10-year-old girl making thread from plastic.

“At that moment, I realized that I could make outfits and sell them using this waste material,” he explains.

Since then, the older man has been making a range of products, including Nepali caps, shoes, waistcoats, and handbags.

In his workshop, the artisan shows EPA how he carefully washes the plastic waste and cuts it into strips.

Sitting on a small stool, he gently pulls at the strips of plastic and stretches them into long threads using his toe to hold the plastic yarn in place to prevent it from getting tangled.

He then twists the plastic thread into balls to be later used to weave garments and accessories.

“Although I don’t have a formal showroom or shops to sell them, those who know about my products visit my home to purchase them,” he says before adding that tourists are keen buyers of his products.

“My daughter-in-law and friends bring plastic waste for me, so I don’t have to search for it myself,” Babu Kaji says.

It takes around 300 plastic milk packages to make one handbag, and it takes between three and four days to finish the bags.

The World environment day is held annually on June 5, with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) leading the campaign.

Over 400 million tons of plastic is produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10% is recycled, according to the UN agency.

This year’s campaign is titled Solutions to Plastic Pollution, amid urgent calls from environmental agencies worldwide to shift to a circular economy.

It is estimated that some 11 million tons of plastic waste flows annually into oceans and that a move to a circular economy could reduce plastic pollution in oceans by over 80% by 2040, according to UNEP.v EFE-EPA


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