It has been almost a year since the Chennai Corporation imposed a ban on the use of disposable plastic items on the Marina beach, but vendors and their customers still seem to be using them. The ban which came into effect on August 15 last year was meant to beautify Marina keeping it clean and free of used water packets, packaged water bottles, plastic packaging materials, plastic bags and cups.
“Customers don't accept unpacked items, especially things used for home decor and accessories which come in pairs,” said K Arasi who sells bangles on the shore. “And since the checking mostly happens at the shops on the pavement on the beach, we escape a fine as our stalls are closer to the water,” she added.
On the steps taken by the civic body to ensure the implementation of the ban, Chennai Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni said, “The usage of plastic goods on the Marina had come down a lot after the ban was imposed, but now some vendors have started using them again.
“We don't want to be coercive with the violators. We will be issuing final warnings to them before clamping down on them,” he added.
The vendors feel that plastic as a packing material is irreplaceable in terms of cost and usability. “We had stopped using plastic containers for some time after the ban was imposed because of the regular checking then. Making paper bags is always a task and we can't afford cloth bags,” says Kumaran, a décor item stall owner on the beach.
“The ban has been enforced very strongly and that is why the usage of plastic on the Marina has come down to almost 40 per cent now. We are halfway there and it's possible to reach full results soon,” said Mr. Lakhoni adding that corporation officials will plan out meetings with the vendors soon in order to strengthen the imposition of the ban.