Around 40,000 pet bottles strewn artistically fall from atop the 11-storey MET building in Bandra west… a symbolic conviction of people to relinquish the use of plastic. This and many more such installations around this vibrant suburb, conveyed the message of Celebrate Bandra 2009 – making this suburb of Mumbai plastic-free.
This year, Celebrate Bandra (November 14-29), the biennial two-week long festival being held since 2003, had the theme ‘Going Green’. “The most ambitious project undertaken this year by the Committee was to bring about a ‘plastic-free Bandra,” said Darryl D’Monte, Convenor.
One of the Celebrate Bandra trustees, Jayanti Shukla, a member of United Way, that has put together this proposal, has initiated plastic-free Bandra. Various awareness campaigns, education programmes through schools, resident associations, shopkeepers, etc., have been organised on the impact of plastic. The Celebrate Bandra Souvenir was sold in cloth bag to encourage people to switch from plastic.
“On the first day, we had the Bird Walk from Mount Mary to Bandra Fort, where four-five species of birds can be spotted this season. Similarly, we had the walk to identify the rare Trees near the Post Office and Almeida Park. These walks concluded with a briefing by experts at The Hub on John Baptist Road on birds and trees, respectively,” said Darryl.
One other interesting contest held was finding, with decibel meters, the noisiest spot in Bandra which has more than two-digit decibel levels. The “winner” was the area outside Elco Arcade on Hill Road.
The festival highlighted how, with resources raised from the biennial Celebrate Bandra festivals in 2005 and 2007, various projects had been fully funded, including a school bus for Aseema, a Rain Water Harvesting Project at Holy Family Hospital and a school bus and a Solar Water Heating Project for St. Catherine of Siena Welfare Society for Destitute Children.
The art installations around Bandra had a message in every masterpiece. A plastic float in the water, windmill wastepaper, bouquets out of plastic changed people’s perception more than what words could do. Minali Thakkar, heading the art section, said that an artist dealt with every subject differently. “Here we are eco-warriors trying to educate people with forms and not words and the size of the form depicts how serious it is. I chose the MET building as my canvas for ‘The fall of the bottle’ creation because it’s the welcoming structure when entering Bandra, calling the attention of all.” Right from rag-pickers to the students were involved in the creation of this piece. They too realized that the bottle they were selling was actually harmful and learnt their hygiene lessons too.