New Delhi Plastic Bag Ban Breaks Down

Eighteen months after being banned in Delhi, plastic bags are back… not that they ever really went away.

The government warned in January last year, that anyone caught using plastic shopping bags would face a fine and, in extreme cases, a prison sentence. But in this teeming city of 16 million people, enforcing the ban has simply proved too difficult.

“The ban is obviously good and people should adhere to it, but sometimes when you get into the mood of buying things, just at the spur of the moment, then if you don’t have a bag, then you need a plastic bag – it’s just useful.”

“If you really want to ban plastic, get an alternative for that. People will stop using it.”

For environmentalists, alternatives have been difficult to find.  Plastic bags are well known as an ecological scourge. They don’t decompose. They clog rivers and kill cattle and birds that ingest them. The ban’s failure in Delhi is a source of great frustration for campaigners like Bharati Chaturvedi.

[Bharati Chaturvedi, Environmentalist]:
“Our plastic ban in Delhi was based on the notion of beating and policing. Such a ban – it does not work. If you compare it with other kinds of bans in other parts of the world, what we found is that they have not been banned, there have been taxes. The Irish put a very small tax, Washington, DC put a small tax but the plastic bag usage just collapsed after that.”

The movement toward taxing plastic bags has not yet gained a foothold in India despite a booming economy which has spurred a steady increase in their use. The government wants shopkeepers to use jute or paper bags but traders say nothing is as efficient as plastic.

[Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, Confederation of All India Traders]:
“It is the cheapest packaging material available in the country. [It is] Very easily available, very easy to handle and very easy to store. So these are the four characteristics for plastic to become so prevalent – not only among the shopkeepers but also among the consumers. If the government is able to make available the alternate material, I think we are definitely here to abide by the law.”

So far however, the law has had no impact in Delhi where for now environmental concerns take second place to commerce and convenience.


Tirupur waiting for ‘modern compost yard’

Detailed project report for the yard will be ready soon

Tirupur: Even as Tirupur grew exponentially to carve out a niche for itself in the world textile map, the city is yet to have some of the basic infrastructure needed to keep the area clean and hygienic. One of them is ‘modern compost yard’, a project that was conceptualised many years ago but did not take off owing to bureaucratic red-tapism.

No-objection certificate

Interestingly, no-objection certificate for the project had been issued by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and Indian Air Force (since the yard comes 20 km within the radius of Sulur air station) a few years ago.

Because of the inordinate delay in setting up the ‘modern compost yard’ Corporation health officials are forced to dispose of the solid wastes generated at the rate of 420 tonnes a day mainly into open pits near Velliyangadu causing enormous health hazards.

In the last one year itself, residents in the nearby areas staged umpteen agitations to protest against the menace of rats, flies and foul smell owing to the indiscriminate dumping.

Anti-fly measures

Though the Corporation officials claim that they had started taking anti-fly measures and covering the wastes dumped with a layer of soil on each occasion, people refuse to see this as a permanent solution, especially with monsoon to set in soon.


“Only a ‘modern compost yard’ can provide a comprehensive solution,” they say.

The Corporation officials told The Hindu that a detailed project report for the yard would be readied soon and that it would come up on a sprawling 25-acre plot at Iduvai.

Live fencing

The facility would have land fill sites, live fencing (greenery), space for recycling the wastes into manure and resting shed for sanitary inspectors, said the officials.

“The manure produced will be sold commercially while the other inert materials be land-filled safely,” they said.


Garbage dumped on roadsides being burnt

ERODE: The burning of garbage is no longer confined to the dump yards.

Heaps of rotting garbage found on the roadsides are also being set afire these days, thanks to the Erode Corporation and the four municipalities, which had grossly failed to implement a proper solid waste management system and ensure regular waste collection.

Common sight:Burning of garbage at many places in Erode poses serious threat to health. PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

Garbage collection and disposal remains tardy in almost all the parts coming under Erode Corporation and Soorampatti, Veerappanchatram, Kasipalayam and Periyasemur municipalities.

As waste remains uncollected for weeks together, the Corporation and municipal workers have resorted to burning garbage dumped on the roadsides. In a few places, people were forced to burn the garbage as the civic workers were not turning up regularly for cleaning. “The rotting garbage poses serious threat to human health. We have complained to the civic officials on several occasions. But they did not respond to our pleas. So, people here are forced to set the waste afire,” a senior citizen in Soorampatti said.

On Saturday, a few persons set a heap of plastic waste and used tyres dumped near Veerappampalayam Pirivu. “Thick cloud of smoke engulfed the area making life miserable for us,” a shopkeeper said.

“A foul smell is emanating due to the burning of garbage. The smoke causes breathing problems particularly for the aged and children, besides those suffering from respiratory diseases,” said residents of nearby colonies.

The Erode town generates over 120 tonnes of garbage including large amount of plastic and polythene waste every day.

As the existing dump yard at Vendipalayam is overflowing, the Corporation finds it difficult to ensure regular cleaning in the streets. Similarly the dump yards of four municipalities are also overflowing.

People urged the Erode Corporation and the four municipalities to initiate immediate steps to implement the solid waste management system and ensure door-to-door collection of garbage.


Students collect plastic wastes

NAGORE: The 188-kilometre-long coastline of the district, here from Kollidam to Kodiakkarai, marked the site of a massive one-day environmental initiative on Thursday. An intense three-hour coastal cleaning campaign was ushered in under the aegis of the district administration in observation of the World Environment Day.

The exercise was planned by Collector C. Munianathan. The campaign saw a participation of over 3,400 students from over 36 schools.

Non-degradable:Collector C. Munianathan and school students collecting waste plastic materials at Velankanni Church Beach.

The participants were students from standard eight to 12 and polytechnic students. Volunteers of NCC, NSS and JRC also participated.

The beach cleaning programme commenced at 2.30 p.m. at 25 specified locations under the supervision of district officials.

The locations were Nagore Sillady Beach and Pattinacherry, Nagapattinam New Beach and Old Beach, Akkaraipettai, Velankanni, Seruthur, P.R. Puram, Kameshwaram, Vettaikaraniruppu, Vizhundhumavady, Vellapallam, Pushpavanam, Arukattuthurai and Thopputhurai, Vedharanyam Beach, Maniyan Theevu, Kodiakkarai, Kodiyampalayam, Kottaimedu, Madavaimedu, Thirumullaivasal, Keemoovarkarai, Vanagiri, Poompuhar, Tharangambadi, and Chandrapadi.

They were shortlisted at a district-level meeting organised here on May 10 to work out the logistics of the campaign. The Forest Department provided gunny bags, first aid kits and soaps, while SHGs provided the participants with tea and snacks. Further, 108 emergency ambulance services were stationed at specified locations.

Wherever possible, tractors were engaged to plough out buried plastic materials.

Each student was assigned one to five gunny bags, and the collected biodegradable and non-degradable wastes were taken by the local municipalities to their respective compost yards. The Collector C. Munianathan inaugurated the campaign at Velankanni Beach, the District Revenue Officer, A. Annadurai, supervised the campaign at Tharangambadi Beach. M. Pannirselvam, Assistant Executive Engineer, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, along with V. Thirunavukarasu, District Forest Officer, supervised the campaign at Nagore Beach. Additionally, Naval officer, Nagapattinam, and Port Officer supervised the campaign at Nagapattinam Beach and Naval Officer, Thopputhurai, supervised at Arukattuthurai. The Chief Education Officer had organised the participation of schools from across the district. Officials from Naval Detachment, Port Authority, and school representatives supervised the cleaning initiative at specified locations. As part of corporate social responsibility industries such as PPN Power Generating Company, HOEC, Pillaiperumanallur; CPCL, Panangudi; IOCL, Muttam and Chemplast Sanmar Limited, Vedaranyam participated.


Cotton bags distributed on ghat

VARANASI: To discourage the use of plastic carrybags and promote environment friendly approach, volunteers of Samkalp, a social organisation, distributed cotton bags at Dashashwamedh Ghat and adjoining areas on Tuesday.

The volunteers also took plastic bags from people visiting the ghats and offered them cotton bags for daily use. The distribution of cotton bags was a part of the ‘Save Ganga Campaign’ of the organisation.

It may be mentioned here that people used to dump floral offerings and other articles packed in plastic bags into the Ganga without a thought to its harmful impact on the river.

Besides distributing cotton bags, the volunteers, led by Anil Jain, also tried to convince daily bathers not to pollute the river by using soap or dumping floral garlands, plastic bags and other things they used in religious rituals in the river.

From TOI

Erode: Dumping of waste in irrigation channels goes unchecked

Farmers blame district authorities for inaction

ERODE: The dumping of solid waste, including huge amount of plastic waste, in the irrigation channels and sewers in the district remains unchecked for long.

Foul odour:The dumping of solid waste, including huge amount of plastic waste in water carrying channels remains unchecked in many parts of Erode. — Photo: M. Govarthan

A large number of commercial establishments particularly eateries and a few irresponsible citizens dump solid waste in almost all the sewers in the town. In the recent rains, almost all the open sewers in Erode town overflowed and flooded residential areas.

Apart from sewers running in the town, solid waste is being dumped in large quantity in the irrigation channels, thus killing them slowly.

“A large number of farmers depend on these channels to irrigate their fields. They have taken this issue to the notice of senior officials on several occasions. But they are yet to witness a positive response from the officials,” people say.

Farmers had even represented this issue during their monthly grievances redressal meeting.

“But our grievance is yet to be redressed,” farmers lament.

A number of irrigation channels passing through the town have now become big sewers emanating foul odour and a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The district authorities and the Erode Corporation continue to turn a blind eye over this issue.

“Each time we approached the officials in the district administration and the Corporation, they give us assurance that they would initiate appropriate action. But no concrete action has been taken up so far to put an end to the indiscriminate dumping of solid waste into the water carrying channels and sewers,” people charge.


Call to use jute products to combat ecological problems in hilly areas

Products are bio-degradable, eco-friendly and cost-effective

Jute products are ideal alternatives for use-and-throw items made of plastic

Entrepreneurs to get support in the form of marketing and buyer-seller meets

Eco-friendly creations:The Nilgiris Collector Archana Patnaik (left) going round an exhibition of jute products in Udhagamandalam on Tuesday. - Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

Udhagamandalam: The ecological problems plaguing this hilly district can to a significant extent be tackled if alternatives to non-biodegradable products are promoted.

This was emphasized at a one-day awareness workshop on Jute Diversified Products organized by the Jute Service Centre (JSC) and the National Jute Board in association with the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women Limited.

The Project Officer, Mahalir Thittam, D.F.Danaraj, said that jute products are ideal alternatives for use-and-throw items made of plastic like carry bags which do considerable harm to the ecology.

Pointing out that jute products are eco-friendly, he said that they are also cost effective.

The Officer-in-charge JSC M.Ramaswamy said that the objective was to select enterprising individuals and groups and impart advanced training in the production of jute products.

He added that the beneficiaries would also be extended support in the form of marketing, exhibitions and buyer-seller meets.

Stating that India is the largest producer of raw jute in the world, he said that it accounts for over forty percent of the world crop.

Pointing out that value-added jute products are in great demand, he said that among them are tapestries, curtains, dress materials and bags.

Jute is also an alternative to harmful petrochemical products.

The jute-based products have been found to be useful in the construction of roads, embankments and in horticulture applications.