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Toprak Petq Chi / Տոպրակ պետք չի

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The functional lifespan of a single plastic bag in one of Yerevan’s grocery stores is literally minutes, from the moment the merchant gives you the plastic bag to transport your items to the moment you get home and remove your items from the bag. Soon after this, plastic bags re-enter Armenia’s environment as trash. It takes over 500 years for each of them to break down, and when they finally do, they poison the Earth and its wildlife for millennia. Here’s the question we want people to think about: Is 500+ years of damage worth 5 minutes of convenience?

Toprak Petq Chi is an initiative targeting single-use plastic bags in Armenia’s grocery stores. It will consist of: 1) An outdoor demonstration on Northern Avenue in late June featuring: A ‘Tote Bag Station’ that invites passersby to actively participate by stenciling their own designs onto blank canvas tote bags. People are more likely to use the bags if it has a special meaning. An anti-littering art installation by artist Tenny Adamian. A live stage to get people’s attention where local bands will ‘Play to End the Plastic’. 2) A social media campaign released prior to the demonstration featuring: Blog posts on how plastic bags became so popular in Armenia and facts about what they do to the environment. Cleverly designed posters with slogans translated to Armenian, like “SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS: NAME A SINGLE REASONS TO USE THEM.”

We don’t have to wait for Armenia’s government to enact legislation to do something about this. Most Armenians are are not blind to the hundreds of plastic bags and bottles that litter the environment, but the perceived convenience and social pressure to use plastic bags is greater than the urge to refuse them, which often results in a verbal altercation between the cashier and the customer. Hence, the name of this campaign: “TOPRAK PETQ CHI”. These are the words we must use firmly and adamantly each time we leave the grocery store, until the day we don't have to anymore.

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