Last year, the city corporation had completed the final stages of a project to affix hologram stickers on plastic carry bags, in a bid to control the amount that pervaded the city and to improve a monitoring mechanism.
Ironically, the premature death of this project — still regarded by most corporation health officials as a practical method to bring down its level of use — has been attributed to the launch of another campaign upholding the same cause.
The civic body began the New Year with a plastic boycott campaign, whereby officials visited markets spreading the word against the use of plastic carry bags. Naturally, this invited the wrath of shop-owners and the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) and the matter went to court as the Supreme Court ruling prescribed total ban of plastic less than 40 microns.
“This was hardly practical and now with court cases slapped against a few councillors, this campaign to boycott is unlikely to take off again. The hologram project, on the other hand, had the potential to bring down numbers for we could legally confiscate all those bags found without the emblem. Only one crore bags would have been circulated in the city and the cost would have been a minimum of Rs.8. People would have consciously reused old bags and in time, alternatives would have become popular,” said an official.
The agreement was forged with the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) which had printed 25,000 of the one-crore required by the corporation. “We considered it viable and approached other corporations regarding this. All have accepted and Kozhikode corporation is at the final stages of planning,” said C-DIT registrar S.A. Shajahan.
“When we launched the boycott, we put this aside for it would seem as though we were encouraging the use of plastic again. Because of the total boycott, there was considerable impact as you hardly find such bags of lesser microns,” said health standing panel chairperson S. Pushpalatha.
Mayor K. Chandrika said that a proposal from Perumbavoor to collect plastic waste had been mooted and that it would be considered in a meeting next week.
The hologram project, she said, was not being looked into for now. “What the corporation needs to do is set up collection centres and the manufacturers have to take them back. It will be difficult to realise, but it would be effective,” a health official said.