These #3 Companies are Fighting Smog For a Healthy Environment
One cannot ignore the long-term harm that plastics cause in terms of land pollution
Pollution has always been a matter of grave concern especially with expanding urbanization.
Take the case of our national capital to understand how pollution affects our lives. New Delhi is engulfed in a thick blanket of smog causing serious health and environmental issues.
As Delhi/NCR grapple with its worst smog this year, new-age companies have taken the pledge to ensure a healthier and safer environment for its employees. From installing Air purifiers in the workplace to offering work from home options to employees, new-age companies are doing their bit to protect their employees from deadly smog.
Brands are Doing their Bit to Keep Employees Safe and Healthy
PeeSafe, a leading toilet seat sanitizer spray brand based out of Gurgaon, is taking care of their employees by allowing them to leave early by 5:30pm to avoid SMOG. Apart from distributing anti-pollution masks in the office among employees, PeeSafe has announced no-field-work for sales team during this health emergency in Delhi.
The company has also held an awareness programme for its employees on precautionary measures and healthy food habits in the current situation.
Vikas Bagaria, Founder & Director of PeeSafe, said the air quality was alarming and anybody would have been worried after seeing the AQI. "We were dealing with a health crisis and not just visibility problems. As a company, safety is our motto and we addressed all the worries that were raised by employees. All their thoughts and ideas were implemented, from installing air purifying plants to free distribution of anti-pollution masks in the office. For a long-term solution, we must opt for eco-friendly substitutes," he stressed.
Bagaria has recommended employees to limit driving by carpooling, using public transportation, biking and walking. "We strongly recommend and implement practices to conserve energy — turning off lights, computers and electrical appliances when not in use, using energy efficient bulbs and appliances — to name a few. Every small action can help in a big way," he enthused.
Use of Plastics Creating Havoc
While air pollution is a major reason of concern at present, one cannot ignore the long-term harm that plastics cause resulting in land pollution. Plastics contribute to almost 90 % of the land pollution and can take up to 20 years for a single plastic piece to decompose.
Ved Krishna, Head of Strategy of Yash Papers, a paper manufacturing company based out of Faizabad (UP), is strongly committed to raising awareness against the use of plastics and the harm it causes to the ecosystem.
"As per recent reports India generates over 15,000 tonnes of plastic daily. Out of this packaging represents the single-largest sector and accounts for 35 per cent consumption. Hence we decided to create the CHUK compostable tableware, an eco-friendly bio degradable range with a vision of introducing sustainability in the packaging industry in India," shared Krishna.
Awareness is the Key
Awareness of alternatives to plastic is important and everyone needs to know the harmful effects of plastics and the toxic gases that they release. Smog is caused by crop residue and trash burning and in both the cases people need to be educated and told about the techniques of waste management.
"We need to also ban the use of plastics as we have no real collection mechanisms in place for down-cycling (recycling is a misnomer). We need to encourage innovation in the space of sustainability and regeneration and we need to encourage those who work on solutions," added Krishna.
The lack of awareness and absence of effective tools to collect discarded plastic have led to indiscriminate littering and disposal of plastic waste. Government bodies need to work on a solution to closely monitor the situation, and roll out a sustained campaign to promote the use of alternatives, for a long-term solution.
Employees too can take little steps on a daily basis in making the environment pollution free. From ride sharing, opting for public transport, participating in company's CSR activities to cleaning drives and tree plantation drives, employees in organizations can take these proactive steps to promote a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Loss for All
By some estimates, the total loss would reach to $50B in next 5 years because of pollution! It is also going to make an indelible impact on human health. A lot of companies, small and large, have incurred losses due to the present pollution scenario in Delhi. Manufacturing plants, industrial activity were also suspended due to intense smog conditions which affected sales.
Small vendors, who rely on walk bys for their daily earnings, incurred losses. Large eateries were also affected as less people wanted to come out, since government had advised people to stay indoors due to the alarming level of pollution. With the city's speed of life coming to a halt, small and large companies alike have been negatively impacted due to deteriorating air conditions.
Business World Can be Participative in Improving the Situation
Nurturing Green Studio, a well-known brand in the gifting arena, promotes the concept of green gifting that fit with the eco-friendly values. As Delhiites' lungs choke under the thick cover of smog, Nurturing Green's 13,000 sqft enclosure has become a safe haven. Its O2 Chamber (The Oxygen Chamber) placed at Nurturing Green Studio equips residents to battle pollution by serving unadulterated oxygen.
Annu Grover, Nurturing Green Studio's MD and Eco-preneurist, has been gifting plants for past seven years, as he realized that pollution was going to haunt us and our future generations. "This year when we were opening more stores, we thought to have oxygen chamber in it to let people have more conversations around it and if needed replicate the same chamber in offices, homes, etc," he added.
Grover is of the opinion that the business world can be participative in improving the situation by taking some initiatives like — making carpool compulsory for employees, using 2% CSR budget to plant trees and adopt parks, educating employees by starting "Gift a Plant" initiative and adopting greener fuel solar power for their setups.
He said there is a need for collective measures to effectively combat the air pollution and actions should be part of a multi-pronged approach. He has suggested some measures that are the need of the day.
These include restrictions on trucks carrying building waste, planting shrubs across roads, giving maintenance work to professional companies, cleaning of roads on daily basis and finding ways to remove VOC gases like Xylene and Benzene by growing plants.