Bengal man on a mission against plastic pollution

Sep 13, 2022 | 07:02 IST

Bengal man on a mission against plastic pollution

Poor rickshaw puller Shaikh Asik Ikbal on a national bike tour to raise awareness about the threat of plastics

GUPTA SHASHWAT RAY

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AGASAIM: Worried about the increase in plastic pollution in the country, Shaikh Asik Ikbal (alias Rana) from Kanchan Nagar village, Purba Midnapore, West Bengal, is cycling across India to raise awareness of the impact harmful from the use of plastic.

A poor rickshaw puller, his aim is to cover almost every state, from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu and from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, to persuade people to stop using plastic products and polythene bags.

“A while ago I heard our Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi on TV calling on his countrymen to stop using plastic products. After that I decided to do a nationwide bicycle tour and broadcast its message about the harmful impact of plastic pollution,” said Ikbal.

Ikbal started from West Bengal then went to Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and now entered Goa. He’s been on the road for two months now. The total duration of his tour is six months.

“Wherever I stop to take a break, I tell people that instead of littering the roads with plastic, throw them in a bin so the trash will accumulate in one place and it’s easy for the health workers to pick them up. If the plastic products are thrown on the streets, it will cause a lot of problems like the clogging of sewers, which will block the water outlets and cause flooding. It will harm the local environment “, did he declare.

In Tamil Nadu, he visited a number of places including Chennai, Rameshwaram, Madurai and many other important places and spread the message of the damage caused by plastic pollution.

When asked how he funds his trip since he comes from a very humble background, Ikbal replied that there are many good Samaritans who support his cause.

“There is a social organization in our house named Tarun Sangha Club which supports my efforts, they send me 2000-3000 rupees per month. Many people helped me during my tour. Restaurant owners when they hear my message feed me for free, commuters stop and listen to me and even give me money to cover my expenses so I have no problem but anyone who wants to support my family can transfer money from its UPI app on my number 8972 606560. And anyone who wants to contact me personally can call 8597331360,” the humble crusader said.

From Goa, he will travel to Maharashtra and visit Mumbai. He will then go to Gujarat followed by Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir where he will visit Ladakh.

Bryce K. Locke