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Smallsteps turns 11!

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Let’s Team up to Clean up




In the streets of Kuilapalayam Village, Upasana with Smallsteps and Well bags held the Cleanup drive this Earth Day to raise awareness about avoiding usage of plastic bags. The cleanup team worked for about and hour picking up everything from used plastic water bottles and bags to sweeping cigarette butts in the masses.

Indeed, good deeds are contagious. As we were picking up trash, a man who barely spoke English was watching us. Eventually, he started helping with many more informally.







About Smallsteps


Small Steps project was initiated and funded by Upasana Design Studio, Auroville. It was launched on Earth Day, 22nd April 2007.

Smallsteps bags are reusable handmade shopping bags. Using one Smallsteps bag can prevent the usage of over 500 disposable plastic bags that a single person would use over a year. It is a tiny effort which contributes a great deal to the environment. These bags are stitched by women from villages in Tamil Nadu, India.

Smallsteps is more …

Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 plastic ban

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The Kumbh Mela is a pilgrimage of Hindus to the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and (Mythical) Saraswati rivers in Prayag (Allahabad, UP).  The Ardh Mela is every 6 years, while the Puma Mela is every 12 years.  Every 12 Puma Mela is celebrated as the Maha Kumbh Mela.  the last one was in 1869. January to March 2013 will see the unique Maha Kumbh Mela in 144 years.
In 2001, the last Puma Kumbh Mela saw 60 million pilgrims bathes in the river.  It was said to be the largest gathering of people in the history of humanity.  It was visible from outerspace!



The risk of pollution This year, the Maha Kumbh Mela, a once-in-144-years event, is expected to break the previous record for human gathering.  Over the years, the local authorities have done a great job of providing sanitary facilities, medical facilities, drinking water, and all sorts of facilities such an event requires.  However, the one danger that is still a menace is the pollution caused to the river.  As pilgrims offer milk in their…

Let's say not to plastic bags

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More on SmallSteps

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Today we update the blog layout with new tab links under the header (see above). The new tabs link to a page with a list of stores where you can find your smallstep bag in various cities across India. We have also added a link back to our home page. Feel free to explore.

Ban of Plastic bags in India

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There is a growing trend to ban plastic carrier bags in cities across India as the plastic pollution menace is growing by the day.  A number of new articles have reported the bold decisions by public authorities (in Delhi, in Kanyakumari, in the Nilgiris hills) to ban the source of the menace, but this is not always practical as little alternatives have been put into place to effectively wean the public away from this addiction.

A number of countries have also taken this initiative and India is one of the most active proponents of such a ban.  However, the plastic pollution is real and banning the source is only addressing the future production of this menace.  We still have a major problem today to resolve in cleaning up our land and water of this trash.  Unlike other natural trash, plastic remains in our environment for a long time.  in order for the ban to be effective, we also need to address the issue of collection and recycling.  Currently it is left to the private sector and in…

Plastics in our seas

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Plastics often end up being blown in the sea, they get eaten up by fish, killing them or poisoning them which may end up being fished by fisherman. It is a worrying development and there are not solutions but to reduce, reuse or recycle our plastic nuisance. So next time you dispose of a plastic bag, try not to throw it in the open, either collect it with other plastic bags and sell them to a recycler or ruse them. The best solution is to carry a small shopping bag with us at all times so as to be able to say no to plastic bags!

Preparing India for a consumer wave

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A recent article in The Hindu highlights the environmental dangers of consumerism.  The article highlights the problem that invariably accompanies consumption, that of garbage disposals.  Well documented, the author points to the issues in the USA, notably its largest landfill, Puente Hills outside Los angeles.


What started off as  landfill (a hole in the ground) is now a towering 500-foot high hill of trash.  The refuse of nearby civilization, and growing.  The problems are diverse, from escalating production of trash to containment of the toxic substance oozing into the ground and contaminating the underground water resources.  It is a man-made natural disaster in the making.

Furthermore, the article points out that recent trends in educating the masses in the need of recycling is not really addressing the problem, for the majority of trash is a direct consequence of industry's calculated strategy to push consumption to its extremes.  One of the biggest contribution being techn…