No alternative yet for plastic pouches used in hotels

Lack of clarity regarding use of certain single-use plastic products

Published - January 29, 2020 12:16 am IST - Kozhikode

Kochi, Kerala, 12/04/2017: Despite ban, use of plastic bags continues in Tripunithura.
Photo : Thulasi Kakkat

Kochi, Kerala, 12/04/2017: Despite ban, use of plastic bags continues in Tripunithura. Photo : Thulasi Kakkat

Even while the Health wing of the Kozhikode Corporation is vehemently on the lookout for those violating the single-use plastic ban, there is a lack of clarity regarding the use of certain items such as thin polythene pouches used by hotels to pack gravies.

While the guidelines provided by the State termed polythene pouches as banned products, it contradicted itself in another part, said Health Officer R.S. Gopakumar, explaining why the hands of the inspection squads were tied to a certain extent when it came to hotels. “If we confiscate these pouches, we should be able to provide an alternative that serves the same purpose, which we are unable to do at the moment,” he said, adding that action would be taken against hotels for the use of such pouches as soon as an alternative was found.

While hotels and bakeries have largely resorted to the use of compostable plastic, pouches made of compostable plastic are no alternative for polythene ones. Compostable plastic is made of starch and does not hold liquids properly.

At present, the Corporation aims to check the use of non-woven bags and polythene carry bags besides disposable utensils. Five squads of the Corporation have been conducting regular inspections in large shops and supermarkets. So far, around 19,000 kg of banned products have been seized from various shops in the city.

Stickers that proclaim that the banned products are not available have been placed in front of most shops in the city. Meanwhile, various cloth bag manufacturing units under Kudumbashree have sold around 5,000 bags in the last one week and are busy manufacturing more.

“Alternative products like cloth and paper bags are readily available in the market. Several new players have come into the field,” said Dr. Gopakumar, adding that new agencies that market compostable plastic bags too had started functioning in the city.

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