Milk packets to mattress threads: Batla fights back
New Delhi: Masarrat, a 56-year-old member of the Sambhal community, takes time out from her little tailoring business at Batla House to shred plastic packets of milk. She, along with other women, then uses these “plastic threads” to weave mattresses.
She is a part of the project initiated by students of Jamia Millia Islamia, who are trying to ensure that the campus — already solar-powered — doesn’t generate plastic waste. The students have roped in ragpickers who collect soft plastic waste and supply them to members of the Sambhal community. The cheap mattresses thus made are sold to an NGO for use by the homeless.
Saurabh Suman, a fourthyear engineering student who is on board the project titled “Mission Tabdeel”, said: “We aim to bring forth a transformation about two major societal concerns, namely waste management and welfare of the underprivileged communities.”
Masarrat runs her family by doing odd stitching jobs in the locality. She was approached by the students with a unique proposal — turning plastic into clothing. “We usually do stitching work, but this was something we had never heard of. After a few tries with different products, we decided to use packets of milk. They are soft and easily malleable,” she said.
Rabia (28), who stays in the same locality, took to stit-
The women are part of a project by students of Jamia Millia Islamia, who are trying to ensure that the campus doesn’t generate plastic waste
ching to supplement the income of her carpenter husband. “We place the plastic on a flat surface, cut them with scissors to create threads and then weave them. It takes 2-3 days for us to finish the whole process,” she said. On average, the women earn around 4,000 a month as the students help them sell the finished products to an NGO.
Kafil Khan, a third-year BA economics student, said the project, created by Enactus Jamia, “aims to improve waste management as well as help improve the standard of life of these women residing in Batla House”. The team has also taken up the responsibility of educating the children in the locality. Sameer, a Class X student, takes “regular tuitions” from them. “They also train me in using the computer,” he said.