In an effort to raise awareness about the perils of using plastic, the Kotpad Notified Area Council (NAC) in Koraput district is providing free meals to the poor in exchange for a kilogram of plastic waste.
The programme, which started on Monday, entails a meal for anyone who brings a kilogram of used polythene bags, plastic bottles and cups, officials said, adding, it is being carried out under the State government’s ‘Aahar’ scheme.
“Plastic waste chokes drains, traps birds and kills livestock apart from causing serious health hazards to humans. This is a small step to protect the environment and the health of people,” said Alok Samantaray, executive officer, Kotpad NAC.
Under the Odisha government’s ‘Aahar’ scheme, poor people in urban areas of the State are provided a meal comprising rice and ‘dalma’ (lentils with vegetable) at a cost of ₹ 5.
The NAC administration has put up banners and posters at various areas of the town to make people aware about the new initiative, and a special counter has also been opened at the Aahar centre.
At least 10 kg of plastic waste items were received on Monday, and accordingly, 10 meals were given under the ‘Aahar’ scheme, Mr. Samantaray said.
“Seeing the people’s enthusiasm about the progamme, we are hopeful that in the next few weeks, we will be able to make the town free from polythene garbage,” he said.
The NAC authorities organise regular awareness drives to sensitise residents against the use of polythene bags, the official said.