Corporation, TNPCB launch drive against plastic bags

5,000 jute bags distributed among traders in Koyambedu

The Greater Chennai Corporation and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board have launched a campaign to promote alternatives to plastic bags.

Principal Secretary to Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forest, Supriya Sahu and Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi launched the campaign by distributing jute bags at Koyambedu market on Saturday. About 5,000 bags were distributed on the occasion.

Ms. Sahu tweeted: “While speaking to traders at the Koyambedu fruit and vegetables market, I emphasised on the need to get rid of disposable plastic bags and bring back our traditional yellow cloth bags or Manjai Pai as we call them in T.N. We all are eating plastic equal to the size of a credit card every week.” Mr. Bedi said civic officials had been directed to seize plastic bags and impose fines. “We want all shopkeepers to use only paper bags and cloth bags so that single use plastic is avoided across shops. We have conducted a series of meetings with traders, manufacturers of plastic covers and the general trading organisations. We have exhorted the traders of Koyambedu to avoid plastics and use cloth bags to give fruits and vegetables,” he said.

“We have asked our zonal health teams to visit markets such as T. Nagar, Purasawalkam and Anna Nagar and check whether the shops were using plastic bags, and if so, seize these and fine the shops. Right now, our mode will be more persuasive rather than punitive and we will request for the involvement of the community in the drive against plastics,” Mr. Bedi said.

The Corporation is planning to involve more NGOs in the programme.

Chief Engineer N. Mahesan said the officials were focussed on pricing of cloth bags and other alternatives to plastic bags. “The city generates more than 1,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day. Most of the waste is recycled. We have planned to reduce the plastic waste in dumps. The initiative by the Centre before December 2022 will be crucial in the campaign against plastics. We have adopted various methods to recycle plastics.”

The civic body will take up initiatives to prevent plastic pollution in the sea and rivers.

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