The ban on use and sale of plastic carry bags below 40 micron will come into force in the city from Monday. The civic authorities are planning to undertake a twin approach to eradicate the menace from the city: to crack down on the sale and use, and create awareness among the masses.

Squads will be pressed into action in East and West Kochi areas from Wednesday for checking the use of the banned material, said T.K. Ashraf, the chairman of the Health Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation. A meeting of the Health officials of the civic body will be held on Monday for giving shape to the squads. The traders were given enough time to clear the stock of carry bags already acquired. It was on their request that the corporation had extended the deadline for the enforcement of the ban, he said.

The corporation had carried out discussions with representatives of the traders including that of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The squads will inspect the shops and commercial establishments and those found flouting the ban will be proceeded against invoking the relevant sections of the Kerala Municipalities Act, Mr. Ashraf said.

Kudumbasree's support

The support of Kudumbasree units will be sought for the production and marketing of carry bags made of alternative materials like cloth and paper. The cooperation of residents' associations has also been sought for making the ban effective. The city needs to go back to the earlier mode of shopping where one used to carry bags to shops than depend on the plastic bags, he said.

Even while acting tough against the use of banned bags, the Kochi Corporation is also planning to sensitise students against the menace. Students will be encouraged to collect plastic materials and stock it at schools. They will be rewarded with notebooks and certificates. The plastic thus collected in schools will be shredded at the shredding units in the city. The plastic pellets thus produced will be used for tarring of roads, he said.

Similar campaign

Incidentally, the Kochi Corporation had carried out a similar campaign in the city before some time. It had also initiated a campaign to promote the use of bags using alternative materials. However, the campaign fizzled out later. The corporation has decided to tar five roads in the city by using plastic pellets along with bitumen. Two roads in the city area and three outside the city will be tarred using plastic-mixed bitumen. The roads will be selected in consultation with the Kochi Mayor, he said.

Squads will be pressed into action in Kochi from Wednesday for checking the use of the banned material.