‘City Clean Campaign’ in July

To remove plastic waste within Nellai Corporation limits

TIRUNELVELI: Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation, which has identified 124 places under its jurisdiction where ‘waste plastic mounds’ have been created by its residents, has decided to involve its entire workforce along with volunteers drawn from schools and colleges in its ‘City Clean Campaign’ to remove this highly hazardous materials to be destroyed safely.

Laid waste:Plastic waste dumped in the irrigation channel taking water to Nainarkulam near Lala Chatra corner in Tirunelveli town. Photo: A_Shaikmohideen

After the district administration and the Department of Environment decided to impose a ban on the production, sale and use of non-recyclable non-degradable plastic materials, particularly, plastic bags, serious steps were initiated to clean up the already piled up plastic wastes by involving India Cements Limited (ICL) in this noble exercise.

As per the memorandum of understanding signed with ICL, the urban local bodies of Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Nagercoil should collect the plastic wastes being generated in their respective areas and send it in the lorries to the premises of cement manufacturing unit, where the hazardous non-degradable materials would be finely shredded to be used as supplement fuel along with the regular fuel, coal.


Subsequently, the ICL management spent over Rs. 1 crore for making some modifications in the machineries and installed equipment to make this process effective.

Even as this exercise is going on, the corporation has planned to put an end to the creation of plastic heaps under its jurisdiction while cleaning the existing stacks of plastics.

As per this new initiative, the plastic waste dumped at 124 places in various places under the Corporation will be removed during the ‘City Clean Campaign’ to be jointly organised by its 700-odd conservancy workers and over 1,800 students and volunteers drawn from various schools, colleges and also from the residents’ welfare associations.

“This camp will be conducted in the first week of July on a particular day simultaneously across the corporation to clean the plastic hillocks. After the conduct of this campaign, we’ll initiate very stern action against those who produce, sell and use the non-degradable plastic products as production, sale and use of these hazardous materials within corporation limits have been banned. Residents should hand over plastic waste only to the conservancy workers hereafter,” said Commissioner N. Subbaian.


Plastic bag use takes a big plunge

Mumbai The civic body has recorded a drop in the number of plastic bags, less than 50 microns thick, seized in the past six months. “There is an over 70 per cent drop in the cases of plastic bags seized by the 27 squads of the BMC. Since January the number of cases has come down drastically,” said deputy municipal commissioner R B Bhosale. In January 2,873 cases were recorded. The number dipped to 940 in May and reached 624 in June. This year the civic body has penalised 7,979 for using plastic bags thinner than 50 microns. The BMC has collected over Rs 32 lakh as fine. In June Rs 2.82 lakh was collected, Bhosale said.

“The drop seems to have taken place as there is more awareness and alertness among shopkeepers and hawkers,” said Bhosale. Stringent action against offenders is also a reason for the drop, he added.

The BMC has one squad in each ward and three other special squads across the city for penalising those who use plastic bags below 50 microns. In January leaders of all parties in the BMC had decided to make a formal proposal to the state government for a complete ban on plastic bags in Mumbai.

“We had written to the state government regarding 100 per cent ban on plastic bags but the proposal is still pending,” said Shiv Sena leader in the BMC Sunil Prabhu. Plastic bags thinner than 50 microns were banned after the July 26, 2005, deluge as they were considered one of the main reasons for choking drains.

Sharvari Patwa – Express India

Despite ban, plastic bags still clog airports, railway stations

New Delhi There might be a ban on plastic bags in the city, but they form about a third of the huge mountains of plastic waste generated by the three main railway stations and two airports in the Capital every day.

The figures are staggering. A Central Pollution Control Committee (CPCB) study has found that while Hazrat Nizamuddin, Old Delhi and New Delhi railway stations together churn out at least 6,758 kg of plastic waste every day, the international and domestic airports are not far behind with 3,662 kg per day.

But a closer look reveals that the density of waste generation is more at the airports. While the per capita plastics waste generation is approximately 9 gm/day at the railway stations, it is a high 69 gm/day at the airports. Despite the ban on plastic bags in the Capital, they form 30 per cent of the waste in the railway stations, the major chunk being plastic bottles. However, they form just 10 per cent of the waste generated at the airports, most probably because the shops inside enforce the ban on plastic bags. The main generators of plastic waste at the airports are the caterers, found the study.

“We found lots of plastic bags in the waste. This maybe because passengers coming from other parts of the country do not know the rules here. It the responsibility of the airports and railway stations to make this known,” says CPCB chairman S P Gautam.

But it is not just the passengers who are at fault. A random check revealed that plastic bags are being freely used at the airports and railway stations despite the Rs 1-lakh penalty on those flouting the ban.

But the major problem is plastic bottles. The CPCB now thinks proper waste disposal channels are necessary to get rid of them. “Given the quantity of waste being generated, we have recommended that the plastic be properly used. Ideally, it should be incinerated in cement kilns or used in making roads. Proper channels have to be made for re-use of waste, there is no other way. This is part of our recommendations,” he says.

From Express India

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.


Madurai: Despite a ban

HAZARDOUS:Plastic waste found strewn all over the Tamil Nadu Housing Board quarters at Maharajanagar in Palayamkottai. — Photo: A. Shaikmohideen


Mumbai women push for change, one bag at a time

MUMBAI: If you thought environmentalism was for those who have too much time on their hands, here’s proof of what “desperate housewives” can accomplish. Last year in June, six young working mothers banded together to implement at home the essence of a sustainable lifestyle — reduce, reuse and recycle. Soon enough, the group grew into RUR, an organization that is now shaping up a public conscience.

“We practise zero-waste management at home. So from using CFL and LED lights to cleaning glasses with lemon peels to reusing kitchen water for composting etc, we live by sustainable measures. And wish that more people start green living at their homes and offices,” says Monisha Narke of RUR. “With the government push to ban the use of plastic bags, the time is opportune to make available economical, eco-friendly alternatives. Cotton bags seem to be the best solution in our times as they are earth-friendly, biodegradable and re-usable many times over. Through workshops, practical demonstrations, campaigns, we spread the green message of shifting the focus from disposable to reusable,” she explains.

The group started with Sahakari Bhandar (a cooperative departmental chain of stores), now taken over by a private body. “We ideated with them on how they can encourage consumers to use cloth bags instead of plastic ones,” says Sejal Kshirsagar. “This year, too, we will be repeating the awareness drive at some of the SB outlets in the city.”

Earlier this year, the group in association with another environment body, Vishwa, made a human chain in three markets to popularize the concept of cloth bags. “Since plastic bags are rampantly used in markets, we spoke to vendors in some of the markets and encouraged them to stock cloth bags. They can also rent these bags as well for a week at a time. With corporate support, we can include many markets in this project and give the bags at a subsidized price. These bags are made of untreated cotton fabric which we buy from the market. Some donate old dupattas and bed sheets for fridge bags. These are sold at subsidized prices or given free to vendors,” says Kshirsagar.

Being true to the three R’s, they have also associated with another NGO called Force which collects reusable dry articles and recycles them. So, be it plastic, paper, metal, you name it, they will collect anything that is reusable. What next? “We are planning kiosks at prominent places to collect tetrapacks. These will be given to a company in Ahmedabad, Daman Ganga, that recycles them to produce consumer products,” says Kshirsagar.

From TOI

Erode: Smoke engulfs residential colonies near dump yard

Local administration yet to implement waste management plan

ERODE: A thick screen of foul-smelling smoke enveloped a number of residential colonies located near the dump yard of Kasipalayam municipality in Sasthiri Nagar here due to burning garbage.

Needs attention:Burning of garbage at Kasipalayam Municipal limits in Erode poses serious health hazard. — PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

People said that the burning of garbage in the dumping yard turned worse during the past few days.

The smog had engulfed the colonies including Sasthiri Nagar, Lakshmi Nagar and Sadayampalayam over the last few days, causing eye and throat irritation.

“The air is filled with smoke, which causes breathing problems particularly for the aged and children, besides those suffering from respiratory diseases,” said residents of nearby colonies.

People charged that the municipal workers were setting heaps of garbage afire to make space for more garbage in the yard, which was surrounded by a number of thickly-populated residential colonies.

The local administration was yet to implement a proper solid waste management programme and streamline garbage collection and disposal process.

“We have been making repeated requests to the municipal officials and the district administration to take immediate steps to dispose of the solid waste using modern technology.

But no concrete efforts have been made till date,” people complained.

“The situation was horrible a few days ago when we could not even open the windows. This has made the summer worse for us,” a senior citizen added.

The fly menace had also increased to alarming proportions, making life miserable for the residents.

Municipal sources said the fires in the dumping ground could be because of summer flare-ups.