For many people the idea of climate change is of growing concern as they are not directly threatened. The people of Bangladesh however are becoming increasingly alarmed at the potentially devastating consequences of the sea level rise and climate change. The USA has the highest consumption of plastic based product and the largest consumer market for bottled water. Each year, Americans throw away some 28 million tons of plastic waste.
Muntasir Mamun and Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman Ujjal, two activists from Bangladesh are riding this summer on a tandem bike to collect and measure the amount of plastic and other waste they come across during their 5000 mile journey from Seattle to New York.
Ashrafuzzaman Ujjal and Muntasir Mamun with their tandem bike in USA. Image courtesy Trashmaniac.com
Rayhan Rashid introduces them [bn] and their efforts in Nirmaan Blog:
Bangladesh is a country riddled with the perils of climate change. Two young men from this Asian country are riding on a tandem bike from one corner of USA to the other. They are collecting trashes like empty bottles and cans on the way and are recording them on their mobile phones. They are enduring the pain of riding through the deserts, with shortage of cash, constantly worrying about food and lodging. They are forging ahead overcoming all these obstacles to carry a simple but strong message on behalf of the people from a green delta near the Bay of Bengal.
The consumerism and waste of the developed countries are among the reasons for climate change and USA is one of those responsible countries. They have chosen the citizens of USA as the target audience of their message so that they can be more aware how their lifestyles are causing wastes. Also these citizens will be able to realize how these wasteful lifestyle can be fatal for the people on the other side of the world as they are subjected to the effects of climate change. This planet was ours, everybody had the same right in it, this we forgot.
Muntasir has developed a an Android App to count the number of plastic based debris within eye sight. The data is being continuously uploaded to an website named www.trashmaniac.com where people can see their progress.
Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal.on Bike. Image courtesy Trashmaniac.com
Muntasir & Ujjal are also updating their own travel blogs (in Bengali). Here are a few quotes from Muntasir Mamun’s blog:
The Trashmaniac ride is going great. It was the quickest 87 miles and after 12:00PM it was a bit warm. We rested a bit but had to go ahead as still there is a long way to go. Indiana is reminding me of Pixito, the father of my college, he was from here. The roads are plain, waiting for the temperature to fall so that we can go ahead one more day…. Crawfords Valley, Indiana. (6th of August, 2012)
The roads of Illinois are reminding me of Bangladesh every time. The cows on the streetside, the shadows of the trees and the friendly people, all are reminding me of home. I want to go home as soon as possible. …. Normal, Illinois. (1 August, 2012).
Patrick Runkel at the Minitab blog is inspired by what the Trashmaniac team is doing. He acknowledges that simple acts like avoiding the use of plastic grocery bags and choosing products with minimal packaging can make a lot of difference. Patrick writes:
We just all need to get on a bike together—one built for about 9 billion people.