C’Mon, Chennai, chuck the plastic!

While the battle cry against plastic has been sounded, the war will take longer to win, if one is to go by ground realities as we step into week two of the plastic ban. Chennai Times went event-hopping to check how seriously the ban was being enforced, and we came back with a mixed bag (thankfully, not plastic!) of views. There were events where one would be hard put to spot the beleaguered plastic, or the offending plastic, and others where the organisers were seen observing the ban in breach. And still others, where plastic made a peep show, hoping others wouldn’t see this trespassing! Here, then, is our plastic watch story…

At the NABARD Gramiya Thiruvizha held at JYM Kalyana Mandapam, Venkatnarayna Road, T Nagar, the venue looked totally eco-friendly from the outside. One of the organisers told us, “Before the event, we had sent messages to all the participants that the state is going plastic-free from January 1, and we will try our best to keep plastic away from the exhibition’s premises. We are just the host; our job is to provide them an infrastructure. We also asked the visitors to bring their own bags and not to have plastic in the venue,” Padma Raghunathan, chief general manager, Tamil Nadu regional office NABARD.

An organic stall owner from Pudukkottai had brought regional delicacies packaged in plastic, and he fumed, “Not everything can be packaged in banana leaf and paper. We don’t know how to go about it when it comes to semi-liquid sweets and snacks. And we cannot discard the products that were manufactured before January as that will be a huge loss for us.”

Village Ticket 2.0
Hemachandran, organiser of Village Ticket 2.0, which concluded on Sunday, said very confidently that there were no plastic products at the venue. “There were no plastic water bottles. The water was kept in a pot, people were drinking from the pot, like how we used to in olden days. The only challenge I see in the future is replacing the flex boards with cloth banners.”

But, here, too, the stalls weren’t plastic-free. Suganya from Tiruppur, who had brought many plastic dabbas and packets of snacks and sweets, claimed that they were all recyclable. She said, “We are using only recyclable plastic sourced from Erode. We are planning to get tin boxes next time, but it will be expensive.”

Bala Ganesh, manufacturer of organic oil and soaps from Palladam, agreed that the plastic ban is a very good initiative to protect our environment, but added that walking on this path would be very difficult. “I agree there are alternatives, but not many concrete ones for liquid products. I also feel the government should subsidise the price of biodegradable packaging products,” he said.

Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com