Tamil Nadu

Salem Corpn. takes lead in going plastic-free

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Organises meetings to increase awareness of alternatives; its efforts see plastic use drop 30% in six months

The Salem Corporation has already taken some steps, ahead of the State-wide ban from January 2019, to curb the use of plastics.

For instance, it has banned the use of plastic bags in its offices, in government hospitals and primary health centres, as well as educational institutions from July 1. It has also held a slew of programmes to create awareness among city residents.

A month later, it enforced a ban on single-use plastics at the two bus termini in the city. Special teams conducted surprise checks to ensure that plastic bags were not in use in offices and concerns.

“These initiatives of the Corporation have already evoked response and the use of plastic materials in city limits has come down by about 30% in the last six months”, said R. Sadheesh, Corporation Commissioner.

The Corporation, understanding the mood of traders, suggested they use eco-friendly alternatives and also conducted demonstrations with bags made of tapioca starch, which disintegrate on their own within 90 days, jute, cloth, maize bags, among others. They were also informed about banana leaves, arecanut leaf plates, clay plates and glasses.

Mr. Sadheesh said that the civic body also organised a meeting between entrepreneurs running units manufacturing cloth, jute and tapioca starch bags and traders. This provided a good opportunity to both, as the traders could collect details on the supply of these alternatives, and the entrepreneurs on the demand for their products.

“The response from both the groups is so encouraging that concerns involved in manufacturing non-plastic bags have already landed in Salem city”, he said.

Besides holding regular meetings with major business establishments, the authorities also sought the cooperation of 2,800 street vendors who have been given ID cards under the National Urban Livelihood Mission as well as those running roadside eateries.

The civic body dissuaded people from dumping plastic waste in the open.

It set up dry waste collection centres in all four zones in July last year.

The Forest Department in Salem has rolled out a ban on disposable plastic products at eco-tourism spots.

According to A. Periasamy, District Forest Officer, the department declared all the reserve forest areas in the district plastic-free zones in June itself. The Kurumbapatti Zoological Park and all the forest offices in the districts have also been declared plastic-free zones.

The Department has directed people not to carry plastic bags and disposable water bottles in reserve forests. Those carrying plastic articles in forest areas will be booked under the Forest Act, Mr. Periasamy said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:16:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/salem-corpn-takes-lead-in-going-plastic-free/article25847803.ece

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