A long way to go to make city plastic-free

Eco warriors making efforts to discourage people from using polythene bags

July 04, 2017 01:27 am | Updated 07:51 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Danger signal:  Plastic waste washed ashore on the beach near Jalaripeta in Visakhapatnam on Monday

Danger signal: Plastic waste washed ashore on the beach near Jalaripeta in Visakhapatnam on Monday

A team of eco warriors are making concerted efforts to make the city free from plastic bags. As the world observed International Plastic Bag Free Day on Monday, various organisations in the city stepped up their campaign to spread awareness on use of cloth and paper bags as against polythene ones. However, many complain that the residents of the city are far from ready to accept this change.

Green Face environmental organisation has been advocating the use of cloth bags at MVP Rhythu Bazaar for the past couple of months. On Monday, members of its student wing called Eco Minions conducted an awareness campaign at the Rhythu Bazaar and distributed paper covers to the vendors. “We have procured 100 cloth bags from a wholesale dealer at Dwarkanagar and plan to sell these from ₹ 5 to ₹ 15 at Rythu Bazaar,” said Ratna Latha Panchava of Green Face. But the problem seems to be more with the attitude of people and lack of awareness on hazardous impact of plastic.

“When I refused to take a polythene bag from a store-keeper today, he was surprised and later told me that he had to provide polythene bags to customers as they insist on that, otherwise they buy from another shop,” said Anuhya Sreedhar, member of the organisation.

Other NGOs such as Sampoorna Physically Handicapped Welfare Association who have been working towards providing paper and cloth bags options rue that there are still very few takers in the market. “Even today, we did not have any sale of cloth or paper bags,” said Satya, the NGO founder. The organisation supports a team of 20 women from financially weaker sections, 15 of whom are differently-abled. “The only regular orders we get are from Subway at Dutt Island and Eastern Art Museum. Recently, we got a 100 cloth bag order consignment from Nellore. But these are just one-off cases,” said Satya.

Rohit Memorial Trust is organising a year-long ‘Say No to Plastic’ campaign. As part of it, a stall is kept at Kirlampudi for collection of old sarees which are then used to make cloth bags. On Monday, the trust distributed 2,000 cloth bags free of cost at Poorna Market as part of its campaign. “We plan to do this campaign twice a month for spreading awareness on cloth bags,” said Gurmeet Kohli of Rohit Memorial Trust.

India Youth for Society organised a painting competition on the theme “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle" of plastics in observance of International Plastic Bag Free Day at AU High School today.

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