With the Coimbatore Corporation banning the use of plastic below 41 microns, our city gears up to be more eco-friendly. Will our drains no longer be choked? Will our animals be safer? METROPLUS speaks to conservationists, shopkeepers, manufacturers of alternative materials and other stakeholders to find out what this means for all of us.

Shop with a conscience

We've been taking measures to reduce the use of plastic in our store. We've already moved to net bags for shallots and some other vegetables. Shoppers should ideally bring their own bags. Providing eco-friendly bags will be expensive for vendors. So, we will offer discounts for shoppers with a conscience, charge extra for plastic bags and hand out cardboard cartons for those who buy in bulk. But, we look forward to more shoppers bearing cloth and wire bags.

C. Dorairaj

Proprietor, Pazhamudir Nilayam, Nehru Stadium

Save our planet

This is such a welcome move. People and merchants must understand the adverse impact of plastics on the environment. Most plastic is burnt — and what we get are dioxins and carcinogens that take a toll on our hormones, a fact that not many of us know. Nations that propagated the usage of plastics have minimised or banned their use. So, when are we going to make the change? Let's look at using cloth bags as a way of showing our nationality.

K. Kalidasan

President, Osai

Need for implementation

Our Corporation has acted fast and we welcome that. The underground drainage system has been a headache for them. If you open it, you see plastic bags choking it. With the help of a special force to seize plastic bags from shops, we can check the use of plastic in one month. Also, households can contribute by collecting plastic bags above 40 microns and selling them to recycling companies like ITC. With people's support, traders can go in for eco-packing. Now that the legislation is come, if carried out strongly, we can eradicate plastic once and for all from Coimbatore.

R. Raveendran

Secretary, RAAC (Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore)

Go all the way

We at the Circle are happy about the ban. In Irugur, the usage of plastic has reduced by 72 per cent over the last four months. Now that there is a ban in place, we hope to make it 100 per cent plastic-free. However, a lot of people who cannot read and write do not know about the ban. We are planning to go door to door and talk to them about it. RAAC recently screened a documentary on plastic recycling for us. We have plans of screening the same for our people at Irugur.

S.A. Sowmya,

President, Children's Science Circle

Make the switch

It has to be a snap decision. Yes, we have to find an alternative, but that will happen by and by. We cannot wait for alternatives to enforce the ban. Just as we switched over to plastic bags from the manjal pai, we can also go back to the manjal pai. The move to ban plastics is a welcome one. We have seen how they choke our rivers and streams. They damage not just our environment but also our health. It is going to be tough getting used to the ban, but it has to be done and we have to bite the bullet.

Vanitha Mohan

Managing Trustee

Project Siruthuli

Jute's the way

The Corporation's announcement is a positive step. It will boost the sale of environment-friendly jute bags and paper bags. Our SHG network (with 12 housewives) has been making jute bags for over 10 years. With a growing awareness among the public on plastic and its effect on the environment, the demand for bio-degradable jute bags has picked up. There are enquiries from retail outlets who want to replace plastic bags with basic jute or paper. Though jute bags cost a minimum of Rs. 150, we are making simple bags in the price range of Rs. 35 to Rs.40 to suit everyone's requirements.

M.A. FARIDA

President, Vetri Self Help Group, Podanur

Recycle, reuse

I have not used plastic bags since the day I opened my bakery. I wrap loaves of bread, buns and other pastries in recycled paper. I stayed away from plastic bags because I have always been conscious about my environment and did not want to pollute it. Some customers do demand plastic bags, but I discourage them. Recycled paper works best in my profession and I'd be happier if we businessmen take steps to use recyclable materials for packaging our products. After all, we belong to the major group that aids in the circulation of plastic bags, don't we?

Ramakrishnan

Owner, Ramakrishna Bakery

Colourful to carry

It's not just the need to parade one's civic sense. Cloth bags are sought after not only because they are eco-friendly, but also because they look happier. The shades they come in add more than a dash of colour when one wants to carry them around, be it for shopping or for any other activity. And they are way more cost effective, which means you can buy a variety of them. When the medium is cloth, the shapes and designs can get as crazy and wild as one wants.

Nacha Nachiappan

Student, PSG College of Technology

Keywords: plastic waste

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