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A Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

Originally appears in the Winter 2010-2011 issue

Located within a forest preserve in south-west India, Lamb’s Rock is a popular picnic site frequented by tourists. Sitting atop a sheer precipice of several hundred meters, the site offers a commanding view of vast stretches of highland forest and the Coimbatore plains beyond. Unfortunately, over time, the picnic grounds and the forested paths to the site have accumulated thousands of used plastic water bottles and other plastic refuse discarded by visiting tourists.

On Earth Day in April 2010, we mobilized the Eco-Club students in the nearest middle school to walk over to Lamb’s Rock and collect the waste plastic bottles in order to raise environmental awareness amongst the public. With the help of government Forestry officials, the students collected 150 bottles that day. When the students carried the bottles back to the school, most parents reacted negatively to their efforts. Some parents were scavengers and were disturbed that their children were doing this. They hoped that education would help their children to avoid the same work.

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Vanya Orr is the Project Director & Mohan Kumar is the Education Manager for The Earth Trust in The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, in southern India.  This is a follow-up to their Fall 2010 article entitled “Inspiring Eco-Clubs in South India”.  They are grateful for the funding of this from Phil Crook and also David Pople of Friends of H.O.P.E.  Contact: or visit