Welcome to the land where photo frames are made from old clocks, wall decorations from old brooms, ‘nilavilakkus’ (lamps) from old ballpoint pens and puppet dolls from plastic bottles.
The Nature Fest, a two-day exhibition which concluded on Thursday, at Carmel Girls Higher Secondary School, Vazhuthacaud, had on display various items - accessories and decorative pieces - made out of otherwise useless things that are usually thrown away such as empty plastic bottles, refills of ballpoint pens and plastic covers.
“The idea is to ban the use of plastic in our daily lives,” said teacher Beena Antony. “Also, instead of throwing away the plastic items or burning them, which is causing a serious environmental crisis, the students have made use of plastic covers and pens and such to make many useful or decorative items.”
The exhibition was spread over several rooms. While one showed ‘Stunning Realities’, where the ill-effects of plastic on the environment was explained; the other had on display ‘Changing Attitudes’, where the students showed how old plastic items could be put to creative use.
The humble plastic bottle, for instance, reincarnated as flowers (carved from the top part of the bottle), an ‘ash tray’ decorated with pen caps, puppet dolls with bodies made of plastic bottles and bangles and bracelets. The students gave free rein to their creativity to exploit the full decorative potential of this item, which in most homes serves only one purpose - that of holding water and other drinks.
“We did a survey among students from classes II to IX and found that bags and covers of plastic were used much more than those made of cloth or paper,” said Ansalna Shahjahan of Class IX as she explained the bar graph created after their survey.
A large hall was devoted to items - utensils, toys and decorations - made from natural products like palm leaves, dried bark of plantain etc. Also on display were a variety of vegetables and fruits native to the region such as papaya, cucumber and sapota, which the students said were grown in their own homes.
At the close of the exhibition, the school was declared a ‘Plastic-free zone.’