A social enterprise in Kerala combines sustainability and women’s empowerment
Does it come as a surprise that the six yard wonder, the sari (a version of cloth) is one of the largest polluters of Vembanad lake, along with plastic?
Social entrepreneur Sanju Soman, one of the people behind Bhava, a social enterprise that upcycles saris and cloth explains, “Cloth usually escapes attention as a pollutant due to the constant spotlight on plastic. It is as bad, and one of the largest pollutants taking years to disintegrate, ending up as landfill or in water bodies. A cotton bag is not very much better than a plastic bag, it also leaves a footprint in water, like here in the Vembanad lake. Plastic bags came as alternatives to paper bags, for which trees were cut. We started using more of it, less of paper bags and single use plastic became the problem it is today.”
In 2017, Sanju, a staffer at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) in Muhamma, learnt, from the panchayat president, that pollution of the Vembanad lake was affecting the livelihoods of local women.
Top image: Bhava marketing materials.