Of the 800 tonnes waste the civic body manages everyday, around five per cent is plastics

With a renewed vigour the Coimbatore Corporation will soon launch a drive against the use of plastic bags less than 40-micron thickness. The Corporation will table a subject in this regard before the Council on Thursday for approval.

The subject says the widespread use by members of the public and traders of plastic bags, plastic-coated plates, plastic cups, tumblers, plastic table mats, etc. finally end up on the streets. From there they reach the drains, choke the flow of sewage and finally pollute the environment. Not only that, the plastics also kill the animals that consume them.

The Government has enacted the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and framed the Plastic Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2011 banning plastic bags less than 40-micron thickness. The Corporation proposed to act against those who manufacture, stock and sell such bags and also against those who use those bags.

A senior Corporation official says that the civic body has been struggling every day in dealing with plastics. Of the 800 tonnes waste the Corporation manages everyday, around five per cent is plastics – 40 tonnes. In the absence of source segregation, the plastics get mixed with other waste to only complicate the segregation process.

The official says that this time the Corporation is very serious about enforcing the rule and initiating action also because the cost of handling waste is increasing by the day as the Corporation is forced to look for projects like waste-to-energy plant to solve the problem.

The Corporation Council in April this year debated the issue after Ward 61 Councillor S.M. Samy raised the issue. After a few other councillors also voiced their concerns, the Mayor, S.M. Velusamy, asked the Commissioner ,G. Latha to constitute a committee to device ways to remove plastics from drains, roads and vacant lands.

He had also raised the issue in September last year when the Corporation launched a mass cleaning drive.

The Mayor had said that when Corporation workers had cleaned drains in response to residents’ complaints about choked drains, they found that plastics were the culprit.

Statistics available with the Corporation reveal that the civic body has this year (till June 15, 2013) seized 2,814 kg plastics. The seizure in 2012 was around 3,000 kg and in 2011 it was nearly 5,000 kg.

Waste-to-energy plant

The official says that Councillors have often urged the Corporation to take action against those who trade in plastics less than 40 microns and the civic body has also been taking action very often. But this time it will be sustained drive. The official adds that if the plan to install a waste-to-energy plant materialises, the Corporation will be able to a great extent manage waste.

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