“I wonder if people knew we would create such a beautiful installation out of their plastic bottles when they threw them out”, says Ms. Beaula Knauf, PR consultant at Putzmeister India, while she stands on a stage and looks at 1,50,000 discarded plastic bottles, painted colorfully and crafted to look like flowers. Yellow, red, purple, blue – the bottles cover a field of 2000 square meters and shine in the brightest colors. The installation is called “Carpet of Joy”, it is put up in the village Saligao in North Goa, India, and today, on April 10th 2017, is the day of its inauguration. Until the end of may, visitors will be invited to go for a walk in it and take pictures.
Putzmeister India was on board in carrying out the project right from the beginning. “The ‘Carpet of Joy’ caught our attention and support because we are living on a beautiful planet called earth and it is our duty and privilege to protect her for us and the future generations”, states Mr. Theissen, Managing Director of Putzmeister India.
It took the initiator of the project and director of Museum of Goa, Dr. Subodh Kerkar, around five months and the support of local politicians, school children and companies to convert his vision into reality. He was inspired by a similar installation by the Israelian artist Mr. Uri de Beer, who had worked with painted bottles on a smaller scale. The “Carpet of Joy” though brings the idea to new dimensions.
To make this happen, the 1,50,000 bottles had to be set up. Putzmeister India which is based in Verna, South Goa, organized the collecting, cutting and painting of the bottles. A part of them got painted at the Putzmeister factory itself. This would not have been possible without the help of the employees, which gifted their free time to the project. And so it turns out that the same color which usually makes Putzmeister’s boom pumps shine in a bright red, can now be found in the “Carpet of Joy”, covering around 15,000 bottles. The result is astonishing. The carpet rises in the sky and even overlooks the tree in the field.
“If Gandhi was alive today, I am sure he would have taken up the garbage issue”, says Dr. Kerkar. “Because throwing litter is an act of violence – violence against the nature.”
A project for the community
To make the “Carpet of Joy” a community project, school children helped to cut the bottles. “And it does not stop here”, says Dr. Kerkar. Together with the village council of Saligao, he has set the goal to make Saligao litter free within two months. “For this cause, we have started to go from house to house to show people how to separate garbage correctly. The responses are tremendous.” Mr. Eknath Oraskar from the village council of Saligao, underlines: “In the past, we have had many small ideas what to do about Goa’s garbage problem, and only collecting the garbage does not help. It is the awareness of the people that helps.”
Proof that the “Carpet of Joy” catches the attention of people is easy to find today: For the inauguration, many people – locals and tourists – joined in to listen to the message of the installation and to take pictures. Everyone stood up when Mr. Oraskar initiated the oath: “l shall not litter.” The interest in the carpet even grows when the sun sets and the lights play on the bottles casting shadows making it look like a field of tulips rising to the sky.
The aim is a litter free Goa
Around the installation and in the whole village, waste bins were put up. The initiators hope to become role models for other villages to join the environmental health campaign. The aim is not only a litter free Saligao – in the end it is a litter free Goa. Putzmeister India will continue to support the environment project. Ms. Beaula Knauf underlines: “It is not a project, but a movement.”