Andhra Pradesh: Implementation of single-use plastic ban ineffective in Kurnool, Anantapur
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Stiff competition in price-sensitive market makes it difficult in these districts

September 02, 2022 01:10 am | Updated 01:10 am IST - ANANTAPUR/KURNOOL

Ignoring the ban, people using plastic bags to carry home their festival purchases, in Kurnool.

Ignoring the ban, people using plastic bags to carry home their festival purchases, in Kurnool. | Photo Credit: U. SUBRAMANYAM

The implementation of the ban on single-use plastic has been the most ineffective in undivided Kurnool and Anantapur districts with the supply lines of carry bags, packing material for hotels and small restaurants/eateries continuing uninterrupted.

The main challenge facing sanitation and health offices in municipal corporations and smaller Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) is to simply cut off the supply lines, which they say is easier said than done.

While the Kurnool Municipal Corporation has been at the forefront in implementing it for a long time, during the current phase of the ban from July 1, they have been raiding stocking points of dealers, retailers, and small vendors, but the KMC Medical Health Officer M. Bhaskar Reddy rues that suppliers have set up secret locations outside the municipal limits from where they are stealthily supplying the single-use plastic items on two-wheelers.

“Unless stern action is initiated by the State government in stopping supplies from the manufacturers, this exercise will get diluted as none of the consumers are willing to give up use of single-use plastics in all forms,” opined Anantapur Municipal Health and Sanitation Officer Sangam Srinivas.

“We collected penalties of up to ₹1.4 lakh in these two months and destroyed over 15 tonnes of plastic material. However, single-use plastic still remains in use because the alternatives are either too costly or are difficult to obtain,” he said.

When The Hindu compared the cost of a single-use carry bag used by fruit vendors and small eateries, the average price was three paise to five paise per bag compared to ₹1.50 per bag for the next cheapest alternative, pushing up their sale price in the price sensitive segment which is also high-volume.

“Unless the awareness levels among people rise further and they shun the use of single-use plastic, enforcing this ban would be a Herculean task,” opined M.B.S. Sankar Rao, environmental engineer in the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board.

In Anantapur and Sri Sathya Sai Districts, on an average, 23 tonnes of such single-use plastic material was seized in June and July. This figure came down to four tonnes in August, whereas in Kurnool it came down to two tonnes.

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