Tirupati Shows How To Tackle Plastic Menace. Will Other Holy Places Follow The Suit?

Plastic bags ban is an absolute necessity. At this age and time we don't really have to tell you why. It's a known fact that plastic is bad for our environment. A lot of countries and cities have already walked on the path to end plastic pollution by implementing bans on single-use plastic bags, for example UK, Australia, China etc. Though Bangladesh was the first country to impose this ban in 2002.

Lately a lot of states in India too has imposed bans on plastic bags. Like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Goa, West Bengal etc. The latest addition to this esteemed list is Tirupati. On October 2nd, which is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti and also the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission, Tirupati is finally on its way to becoming a ‘plastic-free city,’ thus proving itself to be more than just a spiritual city but also a city of cleanliness and environment-friendly practices.

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 From July 11 to 30th, the trial phase was conducted by weighing on all the alternatives available. Meetings were held from August 1 in order to make the people aware of the harmful effects of plastic bags. After elaborate awareness drives, rallies and workshops, the much-awaited ban on plastic carry bags came into force in the temple city on Gandhi Jayanti day.

Unlike Andhra Pradesh, that had banned plastic bags less than the stipulated 40 micron thickness, Tirupati has taken a stricter route by banning plastic bags of all sizes. They have even went a step forward by banning all one-time use plastic-coated paper plates, thermocol plates, containers and dishes, water bottles less than holding capacity of 500 ml and packaging covers less than 51 micron thickness.

Though it’s a huge step in the right direction, but the only cause of worry is the implementation, how to make sure people and retailers adhere to the ban and retailers are worried over the piled up stock, while public are anxious over the hefty fine in case of violation.

Manufacturers will be fined if found violating the ban — ₹5,000 and ₹15,000 for the first and second offence, but for the third offence, they will not only have to cough up ₹25,000 but also lose their trade licence.

The category of dispensers comprising the wholesalers, retailers, small traders, hoteliers and even roadside hawkers will have to pay ₹1,000 and ₹5,000 for the first two times and the third time will lose license, apart from a hefty fine of ₹10,000.

The end-users are also not spared as they face a fine of ₹100 and ₹500 for the first two times. The Municipal Corporation of Tirupati (MCT) warned of disconnecting all services to the residence for violation the third time. It has vested the responsibility of identifying violators and cracking the whip with sanitary inspectors, sanitary supervisors and health officers.

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The MCT also took up the excruciating task of removing the hazardous plastic waste and get it recycled or disposed of in a scientific manner.

As MCT Commissioner V.Vijay Rama Raju said “This ban is enforced with the good intention of protecting the future generations from the harmful effects of non-bio-degradable plastic." Let's hope more and more States, cities and districts follow their example and do away with plastic that's slowly and steadily choking our planet.

Picture Source: Swachh India NDTV; The Hindu

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