New Delhi: If there is one kind of solid waste that has become omnipresent in India and all over the world, it is the plastic waste. Despite the hazardous menace that plastic, a material which takes more than 500 years to decompose, is causing like heavily choking our water bodies, it is difficult to completely abandon it from our lives. Knowing the vast usage of plastic bags in our everyday lives, the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) recently came out with bio compostable alternative to polythenes. The city corporation in collaboration with a Bengaluru-based firm introduced plastic like bags which have a shelf life of three months.
Bio compostable bags introduced in Coimbatore corporation by Commissioner @Vijaykarthikeyn gets huge support from Citizens,vendors and hotels adopting to it#Plasticfree coimbatore is soon a reality@MoHUA_India @HardeepSPuri @SwachhBharatGov @NITIAayog pic.twitter.com/CdHohBvgEY
— Padmanaban Gopalan (@AG_Padmanaban) November 8, 2017
In a bid to make to the city plastic free, the civic body has come up with these biodegradable bags. Though plastic bags below 50 microns have been banned across India, its usage still continues to exist. But without providing an alternative to plastic bags, the ban cannot be completely effective. We hope these bags can prove to be a viable alternative, says Santosh Kumar, Chief Health Officer, CCMC.
The bags are made from tapioca, a type of starch extracted from cassava root. The roots are biodegradable and compostable which break down over a period of months. With such properties these bags can instantly dissolve in hot water without leaving any trace of toxic residue. The bags if burnt will turn onto ash unlike the usual plastic bags.
The advantage of these bio-compostable bags is that they are economically feasible when purchased in bulk, says Mr Kumar,
If bought individually then the cost may increase by 20 per cent when compared to the cheap plastic bags. But if bought in bulk then the price comes down and hence we have first introduced the bags among merchant community.
Under its Smart City Mission, the CCMC had organised an exhibition on packaging where these starch-based eco-friendly bags were introduced to hoteliers, eatery owners and caterers and representatives of various associations including Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore (RAAC).
Regeno Ventures, the company which is manufacturing these bags gave a demonstration to the CCMC and the several associations present and encouraged them to make a switch. Impressed by the solution the corporation gave a green signal.
While the Hotel Owners Association of Coimbatore and Caterers’ Association of Coimbatore came forward and pledged to switch over, Annapoorna group of hotels and Sri Krishna Sweets have already ditched the pollutant plastic bags in Diwali this year. The Indian Plastic Institute – Coimbatore Chapter has also ordered the bags and will use them on trial basis for three months.
Besides the campaign against plastic bags, the exhibition also had representatives including NGOs Self-Help Groups, start-ups and other such organisations who introduced alternatives to other plastic items. For instance alternatives offered to ice-cream and sweet owners were one of the highlights. Items that could replace plastic spoons, bowls, cups, forks, etc were also displayed.