In the past few years, Priyesh, a 30-year-old Fisherman from Calicut, Kerala has managed to catch more than just fish on his nets – Plastic waste. Embarking on a personal mission, Priyesh has managed to remove about 3.5 tonnes of plastic from the sea all by himself in just two months!
A native of Azhiyur, a village at Vadakara in Kozhikode, Priyesh was born in a humble family with limited means. Though he was a bright student, he could not complete his education beyond Class 8. But a wish to pass Class 10 also played a role in him inching closer to this novel initiative–it got him to start fishing at the age of 14.
It’s what he saw at the sea that made him jump to action. Initially, Priyesh met the local Panchayat body and showed them pictures of what he had seen at sea to make them understand the situation.
Soon after–about two months ago, he started collecting plastic every time he went out to sea.
From April 2019, Priyesh has been trying to pull up as much plastic as he can from the sea. He either stays back longer to collect pieces of plastic or cuts his fishing hours short to fetch plastic out of the sea. There were days when he would devote four to five hours to collect plastic alone.
Priyesh’s task, however, does not end with simply collecting the plastic. He makes sure that the plastic waste gets recycled. For this, the officials of Azhiyur panchayat step in. The waste will be taken to the panchayat’s plastic shredding unit, from where the plastic will be taken to a recycling unit.
His sacred mission of removing waste from the sea has been temporarily due to the onset of monsoon. In the interim, he plans to go back to his first dream–study further.
The father of two children – a one-year-old and a three-year-old – is now preparing for his class 10 equivalency exam, which will be held in December this year.
‘Want to study more about the effects of plastic pollution. I wish to go to schools to share this with the children. Because people never really forget what they are taught while they are small, they bring that knowledge along with them as they grow. So it is important for us to teach children the effects of plastic pollution,’ says Priyesh.