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Updated: September 3, 2012 02:54 IST

Gold in exchange for polythene waste

K. Manikandan
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Residents or groups that mobilise and collect 500 kilograms of use-and-throw plastic below the thickness of 40 microns will receive a four-gram gold coin. Photo: A. Muralitharan
The Hindu Residents or groups that mobilise and collect 500 kilograms of use-and-throw plastic below the thickness of 40 microns will receive a four-gram gold coin. Photo: A. Muralitharan

Residents or groups that mobilise and collect 500 kg of plastic below 40 microns thick will receive a four-gram gold coin

Residents of Maraimalai Nagar can now hope to get gold without spending any money. All they need to invest is some time and store as many empty plastic sachets, polythene covers and other plastic waste below the thickness of 40 microns.

The local body will give a gram of gold for a minimum of 125 kilograms. “We want to combat the menace caused by plastic waste, especially those below the thickness of 40 microns. While most plastic waste collected from households is recycled by workers engaged in primary collection, discarded water sachets and thin polythene covers end up choking drains and water channels,” said M.G.K. Gopikannan, chairman of Maraimalai Nagar, a special-grade municipality.

The municipality came up with the initiative of offering gold in exchange of plastic waste to persuade people to shun its use. Residents or groups that mobilise and collect 500 kilograms of use-and-throw plastic below the thickness of 40 microns will receive a four-gram gold coin.

“We will give a gram of gold for 125 kilograms of plastic waste and 2 grams for 250 kilograms,” Mr. Gopikannan said.

According to him, every household generated nothing less than 100 grams of plastic waste. In its drive against the menace, the municipality recovered 1.5 tonnes of plastic waste on Thursday and Friday.

With a population of around 90,000 in 21 wards, the municipality generates about 40 tonnes of garbage everyday. In addition to households, Maraimalai Nagar is dotted with industries, small and big. The collected plastic waste is currently stored in a dilapidated and abandoned community hall.

More In: Chennai

Plastic bags with a thickness of 40microns or above is recyclable and
not biodegradable. Plastic of whatever thickness is non-degradable
unless made with d2w oxo-biodegradable additive. So, bags made to the
thickness and size prescribed will still lie or float around in the
environment for decades, blocking drains and harming animals. Mr.
Gopikannan is also not considering other short life plastic products
such as plastic using for packaging of eatables & etc. Moreover, in no
country in the world is it possible to collect all the plastic waste.
Some of it will always escape accidentally or deliberately into the
environment.
Karnataka should do what the United Arab Emirates and other countries
have already done. Government should legislate to require all short-
life plastic products (not just shopping bags) to be made from d2w
oxo-biodegradable plastic.
D2w Oxo-biodegradable plastics are intended as low-cost insurance
against littering plastic.

from:  Shikha Sharma
Posted on: Sep 4, 2012 at 15:24 IST

If we had followed the basics like disposing the waste at the right
place this wont be necessary. We tend to throw garbage at our will.

from:  Sathish Kumar
Posted on: Sep 3, 2012 at 22:18 IST

Very good initiative with an attractive reward to motivate people to save environment. Similar
efforts should continue for battery cells, bulbs and e- wastes as well. I hope big corporates
will come forward to assist this kind of organizations as a part of Corporate Social
Responsibility activity.

from:  Dorairaj.k
Posted on: Sep 3, 2012 at 18:36 IST

It sounds like a sustainable method of involving the people in keeping the environment clean. If this succeeds, it could inspire other civic bodies to go for similar experiments.

from:  Purushotham
Posted on: Sep 3, 2012 at 07:52 IST
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