a hand holding the planet Earth in a plastic bag

5 NGOs fighting plastic pollution in India

EARTH Day, while celebrated on April 22nd, is often observed all month long and focuses on a specific theme. The theme of Earth Day this 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics, which draws attention to plastic pollution. Plastic pollution occurs when plastic is discarded and accumulates in large quantities and this has a negative impact on the environment, water bodies and plant, animal and human life. Plastic pollution is an ongoing problem for the environment due to the very nature of plastic. Most forms of plastic take hundreds of years to break down and that means plastics can remain in landfills or our oceans for centuries

But there are measures that individuals and organizations can take to reduce plastic pollution. One of the most impactful methods is ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ which encourages people to reduce single-use plastics, reuse plastics and recycle plastics. In addition, there are NGOs across India that are leading the way in fighting plastic pollution. These organizations are giving people access to alternatives to plastics, cleaning up landfills, removing plastic waste and teaching communities the various ways we can adopt greener practices. When you support these NGOs, you allow greater strides to be made in the area of environmental conservation. 

Here are 5 NGOs fighting plastic pollution in India:

Shri Kalyan Women Welfare Society

This Rajasthan-based NGO has a sustainable solution to the problem of plastic pollution. To reduce the number of plastic bags that we use and discard, Shri Kalyan Women Welfare Society is employing 1,000 rural women to stitch 10,000 cloth bags which are a safer and greener alternative to single-use plastic bags that harm the environment. The rural women will be given the cloth and all the sewing and stitching equipment required and will be paid fair wages of ₹5 per bag. 

cloth bags being displayed
Image: Shri Kalyan Women Welfare Society

Once the bags are stitched, Shri Kalyan Women Welfare Society will hold workshops in schools where the students, parents, teachers, village heads and other community members will be in attendance to understand the dangers of using single-use plastics and given the alternative to use cloth bags stitched by the women in their community instead. This initiative not only fights plastic pollution, but also empowers women and engages the entire community as a more sustainable practice is implemented in rural areas. To support Shri Kalyan Women Welfare Society, you can donate here.

Babul Films Society

Since 2012, Babul Films Society has been focused on bringing about a change in people’s plastic usage by changing mindsets and behaviors toward plastic use. This Telangana-based NGO fights plastic pollution by focusing on raising awareness on the dangers of using plastics and offering better alternatives to plastics. Babul Films Society identifies areas where communities are in need of information about the dangers of plastic to their natural environment and conducts awareness sessions on how harmful plastic is to their own surroundings, plant and animal life, local water sources, the air they breathe and their own health. 

people with signs in a park
Image: Babul Films Society

Babul Films Society holds on-ground events and also makes use of online audio-visual resources and social media to illustrate to various stakeholders how plastics can be replaced by more sustainable alternatives and why it is in their best interests to do so. Before-and-after assessments conducted by teams of volunteers from the NGO display the impact of the NGO’s effort to fight plastic pollution among students, families, office goers, small businesses, senior citizens, housing associations and government officials. To support Babul Films Society, you can donate here.

Healing Himalayas Foundation

The problem of plastic pollution is not confined to landfills and oceans. The mountains, which ought to be pristine and untouched by human-induced environmental damage, are fast becoming places where plastic trash is dumped on the mountainside by tourists, trekkers and mountaineers. This includes the unique Himalayan mountain range, where harmful plastics are often discarded, harming the fragile ecosystem of mountainous areas. Through action and education, Healing Himalayas Foundation focuses on waste management practices and promotes a circular economy that benefits both the land and its people.

people cleaning up trash
Image: Healing Himalayas Foundation

True to its name, Healing Himalayas Foundation is an NGO that has been organizing clean up drives and working with both travelers and local communities to preserve and protect the natural environment at the foothills of the Himalayas since 2016. In addition to sensitizing travelers, Healing Himalayas Foundation has built material recovery facilities toward the goal of zero plastic waste on the mountainside and in water bodies such as waterfalls and streams and preserving the local communities important relationship with the environment. To support Healing Himalayas Foundation, you can donate here.

Green Communities Foundation

In rural communities across India, it is harder to safely discard plastic waste as there is an absence of resources to segregate, recycle or dispose of waste. Plastic waste then builds up since it is dumped in surrounding areas or burned, leading to dangerous plastic pollution and even water and air pollution. Waste management practices in rural areas of India are challenging, especially due to its geographical location which is far from the availability of local waste collectors and services. 

a woman and children around a bin
Image: Green Communities Foundation

Green Communities Foundation is based in rural Maharashtra and has implemented a plastic waste management model to reduce the littering or burning of waste among 400 villages in the state. This is done by providing reusable bags to each household, coordinating with local waste aggregators and sending the collected waste for co-processing and recycling. The NGO also holds training programs on waste segregation and regular monitoring and compliance to ensure that the model is implemented and sustainable. Green Communities Foundation estimates that 20,000 households in rural Maharashtra can save almost 225 tons of plastic waste each year. To support Green Communities Foundation, you can donate here.

Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra

Since 1992, Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra is an NGO that has been working with communities in the Chiplun area of Maharashtra to implement proper waste management practices to fight plastic pollution. In addition to food waste, the immense volume of plastic waste that is discarded harms all life forms and causes environmental degradation. Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra addresses this problem by running effective waste management programs through plastic waste collection and awareness drives among students in schools. 

a plastic collection cage
Image: Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra

Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra collects plastic milk packets from tea stalls and restaurants and also collects plastic waste from the local markets twice a week and pays people ₹5 per kg of plastic. Furthermore, the NGO collects plastic bottles that people discard in Sustainability Cages that the NGO has placed around the area. All of this collected plastic is segregated into seven types of plastic and is sent to be recycled or upcycled depending on the type of plastic. Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra has also set up waste management systems and composting units in homes and buildings. To support Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, you can donate here.

Support these 5 NGOs fighting plastic pollution

This Earth Day, let’s make a pledge to reduce plastic pollution and protect our natural environment. We can start by supporting these 5 NGOs working with communities across India to reduce plastic pollution.


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