TAMIL NADU

The Nilgiris administration declares war against plastics

CALLOUSNESS: Despite imposing a ban on plastics tackling the menace continues to be an uphill task for the Nilgiris District administration. A scene on the Liberty Theatre Road in Udhagamandalam. - Photo: D. Radhakrishnan  



D. Radhakrishnan

Plea to sponsor eco-friendly alternatives for the ensuing season

Udhagamandalam: "It is a menace and the only way to deal with it is to eradicate it." With this single-point agenda, the Nilgiris administration has stepped up its efforts to get rid of the plastic pollution.

Challenging task

However, despite a ban on disposable plastic items like cups, plates and carry bags about five years ago, the administration still finds it as a challenging task. While some of the unscrupulous traders continue to give plastic carry bags to customers who have no qualms about using the banned item, plastic packing materials (which are not banned) are being disposed of carelessly by some merchants that they are not only causing harm to the environment but also being misused.

"The situation is akin to taking one step forward and two backwards,'' laments an environmentalist.

Awareness

Meanwhile, the Nilgiris Collector C.Vijayaraj Kumar has appealed to various sections of the society to extend a helping hand to enhance awareness among the tourists and the local people about the ill effects of the banned plastic items.

Alternatives

Enquiries made by The Hindu here on Thursday revealed that an appeal has been made to banks, corporate sector undertakings and organisations such as the Indian Medical Association and the Indian Red Cross Society to sponsor eco-friendly alternatives which could be distributed to the tourists during the ensuing season.

Last year the CPR Environmental Education Centre on behalf of the administration conducted various programmes with funds provided by the Pollution Control Board.

Ad-hoc committees formed at various levels were conducting surprise raids. While fines were being imposed at the rate of Rs. 100 for consumers, Rs. 500 for shop keepers and Rs. 1,000 for wholesalers, the local bodies concerned have been instructed to cancel the licences of repeat offenders.

Since the ban was imposed about Rs. 3 lakhs had been collected by way of fine.

With the administration monitoring the situation constantly, the Collector is conducting review meetings every Friday.