Exclusive | World Environment Day: Rupali Ganguly says she asks for a bucket for baths even at hotels
From using napkins and not tissue, reusing plastic cans to taking a bucket bath, Rupali Ganguly has many examples to share this World Environment Day.
Rupali Ganguly is not just a good actor but also an environmentalist who practises living sustainably. The actor doesn't believe in 'gimmicky events' but says World Environment Day needs to be a day when we all need to sit down and reflect on how we can minimize our carbon footprints on this planet. "I believe in the old adage - the planet has enough for everyone's needs, but not enough for anyone's greed. We need to introspect how we can reduce the negative imprint on the future generations. On a daily basis, we need to see what we are wasting. Once you become conscious about it, you as a human being will definitely try to reduce the impact," she says. Also read: Rupali Ganguly visits Nitesh Pandey's family at their home, gets emotional while leaving)
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Rupali opened up about doing her bit for the environment and what the government and people can do for the same. Excerpts:
What practices have you been following as an environment conscious person?
The important thing is to have sustainable living. I stopped taking shower baths a long time back. I use a bucket. That definitely saves on water. What we as city dwellers take for granted is something that is a necessity when you go into villages. Even if I go out of town, in a hotel, I ask for a bucket. It's a bit embarrassing to say but until my clothes get very old, I don't discard them. I don't buy cars for status, it's about necessity. My cars are written off only after 10 years, as per the government scheme. It's your hard-earned money, why do you need to upgrade cars every 2-4 years. Use as much as you need. Kisko dikhana hai (whom do you want to show).
I am not fond of buying clothes and have not used leather for the longest time. I don't shop carelessly. I use plastic boxes we bring home. I have glass cans as well but please don't discard plastic boxes after using them once. My mantra is reduce, reuse and recycle. I believe in this obsessively and that is the only way for humankind to sustain this planet. And why do we think that the planet only belongs to us?
Are any such practices followed on the sets of your show, Anupamaa?
On sets, people wash hands and use at least 5-6 tissue papers to wipe them. It's so simple to carry a napkin from home. Even if you use tissue papers, why do you need to use plenty of them? 1-2 tissues are enough to wipe your hands. I use two tissues to remove my makeup. Cut down on tissue use, trees are cut to build paper.
One bad habit that I want to rectify is I need hard copy of scripts. I don't understand on screen. At my production house, they recycle paper and print on both sides. Also the plastic bottles. I refuse them until it's a dire situation, that is generating so much garbage. I carry my bottle along with me everywhere and I am proud of it. Our producer Rajan Shahi has kept a water cooler instead of bottles. I bring 4 bottles from home and refill them on set. We have 15 doggy babies on the sets, they are so good for stress relief. I love to take care of them, they're my babies. And I'm so thankful to Rajan for giving them a house to stay in.
You look very concerned about stray animals. How do you try to help the most of them?
I wish the government would take notice of animals, build underpasses or overpasses for them. Why do elephants have to be killed on tracks by trains? Why should leopards and the other big cats be killed in road accidents? Why should so many obnoxious, horrible tourists be allowed into wildlife? You have already taken all of the world. How would you feel if people come and go whenever they want and take your pictures when you are resting with your family? I hope the relation that remains in this world is kindness. We have only one life to live and this is the only planet we have got. We need to protect it. We all need to somewhere draw the line and make small changes. One day that change will be very big.
Share your message for humankind, how they can do their bit in animal welfare.
My dad used to say: earn good karma. I don't know why we call animals 'animals', these days they are more human than us. I tell my fans to not send gifts for me but send dog food instead. Donate for them. They can't ask for food when hungry. I wish every homeless animal has a house or someone who takes care of them. We should look around ourselves, just give them a ₹5 biscuit or 2 chapatis, keep water for them. Feed the cows. Take care of just one stray (animal) around you.
Do you think there is need for a more strict policy to control torture on animals?
Of course, there needs to be a very strict policy against animal cruelty. I don't know what world we are living in. It was like ₹50 for animal cruelty, it has been revised but is not enough. I just hope the government listens. I think every perpetrator who does crime against animals is definitely a horrible criminal in the making. Who does not have empathy towards animals, cannot have empathy towards humans. And that is what I believe in. I'm unashamedly saying this, I judge a person on how they treat animals.
Are you making a pledge on this World Environment Day?
Earlier I would take the cycle everywhere and go. I would walk more. Children today have forgotten to walk. We are reducing carbon footprints that way, right? Parents need to tell children to start walking and they themselves need to start cycling. It is an exercise and also saves money. Cycle to work isn't possible but I will try. Secondly, I have to buy an electric vehicle. The dream of making an animal shelter is also there, I'm working towards it. You have to give it time, and need the right people who will take care of it. People say legacy chhor ke jana hai. By legacy I don't mean itna sara paisa chhor gaye, kamaal ka flat chhor gaye (people talk about leaving a legacy, it doesn't mean so much money or a beautiful house). Legacy means what good can I do for this world? A world that God has given me. He has put me here to do something.