Treading the eco-friendly path, the State Agriculture Department has decided to stop using the plastic grow bags that have become a familiar sight in vegetable gardens and rooftop farms across the State.
The use of the non-biodegradable bags for agricultural purposes causes significant harm to the environment and their use should be discouraged, the department noted in a circular issued to its offices and the State Soil Survey and Soil Conservation Department.
Plastic grow bags should no longer be used in schemes implemented by the State Agriculture Department, the circular added. The department has instead asked its offices to make sure that the grow bags are replaced with environment-friendly alternatives like pots made from clay or coir pith and high-density polyethylene containers that last longer and can be recycled.
Another factor that has prompted the Agriculture Department to stop the use of these bags is the ban on single-use plastics which came into effect on July 1 this year.
Grow bags had become a familiar sight across the State following the roll-out of food security schemes such as 'Subhiksha Keralam' to encourage vegetable farming at the household level. In the latest such initiative, the department had announced plans to kick off farming in one lakh locations in connection with the Farmer Day celebrations on Chingam 1, the Malayalam new year.
The department is laying stress on bio-recycling as part of a broader strategy to revamp the State's farm sector with aim of guaranteeing sustainability and food security through eco-friendly methods.