BY Prajwal Rakhunde
When farmers in Walni village in Maharashtra’s Nagpur district observed that their ponds and lakes were not retaining water, they found the perfect solution.
Walni village had many ponds and 2-3 lakes, none of which were holding water. The rain collected during the monsoon season would be gone by the summer, mostly being lost to ground infiltration. This was leaving the ponds scarce and the village with a severe lack of water supply. Seeing no use for the ponds and lake, the villagers began filling them with earth. The villagers gathered their plastic waste, including things like wrappers and polythene packs, and sewed them together to make huge sheets. They then lined the bottoms of the ponds with the plastic sheets, securing them with a 1-foot layer of soil. They did a trial in March and found that the plastic sheets kept the water from permeating into the ground. Water that would have previously dried up before December stayed until April, and even May.
This simple, yet highly effective method combining the village’s two biggest issues, waste plastic disposal and shortage of water, transformed their problems into their solutions.Seeing the positive effects of the initial experiment, the method was extended to other smaller ponds across the village. At every Sunday all villagers collect the plastic across and hand it over to the other team to make big sheets by stitching them together..