Environment

Ahead of Dussera, plastic Ravana emerges as the new villain

Taken apart: Mother Dairy’s 25-ft. effigy made from plastic collected from households in Delhi-NCR.   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

Ahead of Dussera, celebrants have found a new villain. The traditional practice has been to burn a massive effigy of Ravana but this year, companies — looking to capitalise on the national buzz around curtailing the use of plastic — are making plastic effigies of the ‘demon-king’. The traditional act of burning it in public has been substituted by a token destruction that involves physical dismantling, recycling or — in some cases — a controlled incineration.

The Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA), for instance, is collaborating with the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to create 25-feet installations of Ravana(s) in five cities, including Delhi.

Each effigy, made of about 300 kilos of plastic waste, will be mechanically destroyed on October 8, in a cement plant, in the presence of industry and government officials, a spokesperson for the association told The Hindu. “The remnants would then would be incinerated in a closed kiln under high temperature without leaving any residue,” she clarified.

“The intent is to personify Ravana in a plastic form as a demon, bad for the society and environment. This initiative also highlights the role that the cement industry can play in helping overcome this menace in its plants in an environmentally friendly manner,” according to a statement released by the association.

In a similar vein, Mother Dairy commissioned a 25-ft. effigy of Ravana using waste plastic collected from households in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) region, and destroyed it on October 2, which was Gandhi Jayanti.

“The Ravana effigy was not burned but was dismantled and sent for recycling by the Indian Pollution Control Association, an organisation certified by Central Pollution Control Board. The collection drive was carried out in areas across Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, along with consumers depositing plastic waste at select milk booths in these regions. The drive was supported by leading NGOs for door-to-door plastic collection,” the organisation said in a statement.

The buzz for a ban on plastic grew after Prime Minister Modi on August 15 said, “By October 2, on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, I urge the citizens to give up single-use plastic.”

This was widely interpreted as a ban on single-use plastic by October 2, though in subsequent days, government officials clarified that no ban was expected, and States had been encouraged to cut down on plastic waste from October 2.

States like Odisha have, however, banned polythene bags of any form, as have several airports. Some industry bodies have objected to a ban, saying that there weren’t alternatives and would lead to job losses.

Prior to Mr. Modi’s speech, India, in 2018, had committed to eliminate single use plastic by 2022.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 11:39:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/ahead-of-dussera-plastic-ravana-emerges-as-the-new-villain/article29598593.ece

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