Mumbai: In a bid to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and celebrate four years of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, the temple city of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati will implement a ban on plastic items. The decision was taken at a joint meeting organised by the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati (MCT) and the Tirupati Chamber of Commerce (TCC). District Collector and Special Officer of MCT PS Pradyumna said that eliminating plastic from the city is the need of the hour.
Tirupati is a famous destination of pilgrimage and lakhs of people visit the temples in the city every day. In order to set a right example for lakhs of tourists and prevent plastic from choking our landfill, the corporation will impose a ban on plastic items from October 2 onwards, Mr Pradyumna said in the meeting.
Various NGOs and organisations providing eco-friendly alternatives were also present at the meeting. They agreed to work in collaboration with the municipal corporation by initially distributing cloth bags for free and then charging a nominal price. The district collector launched sample cloth bags given by the NGOs and distributed them to the retailers in the city to introduce them to a plastic bag free life.
Mr Pradyumna also gave the example of India’s cleanest city Indore and said the city’s waste management model will be replicated in Tirupati, “The Indore Municipal Corporation has not only managed to treat most of its waste scientifically but has also been instrumental in bringing down city’s plastic waste generation. We will study their model to manage Tirupati’s garbage problems.”
The planning and execution of plastic ban will be divided into three phases – preparing a clear notification, arranging for plastic alternatives and conducting a massive awareness campaign.
Imposing a plastic ban and making people end their plastic addiction is not an overnight process. We want to make sure that everyone, from retailers, manufacturers, MCT to consumers are fully ready to religiously follow the ban. Thus, the plastic ban will be carried out in three phases, Mr Manohar, Secretary, MCT tells NDTV.
The items to be included and exempted under the ban will depend on the volumes of different plastic items used and sold in the market. The MCT will also study the plastic ban notification of Maharashtra for reference.
“We have already started to conduct an on-ground research to identify volumes of plastic and their alternatives available in the market. There is no point in banning a plastic item if there are no alternatives available. The result of the survey will help us formulate the plastic ban notification. We don’t want any loopholes or confusion to prevail once in the notification is formed. It has to be as clear as water,” says Mr Manohar.
In phase one, the MCT will meet stakeholders like retailers, manufacturers, traders and everyone who handles plastic on a day-to-day basis. In the meetings, the MCT will take their recommendations and hear their point of view.
In the second phase, the corporation will approach the retailers and vendors and appeal them to offer discounts to customers who bring their own carry bags.
As an example, we will go to the hotels and ask the owners to give discounts to people who refrain from taking plastic containers for their food parcels. In case, the customer doesn’t have a container then the hotel will provide it by charging a specific amount. This amount will be refunded if the customers bring back the container, adds Mr Manohar.
There are more than 25 temples in the city and the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is the parent body that looks after the management in the temples. The corporation will also hold meetings with temple representatives to make the temple premises plastic free. Lakhs of plastic bags are used every day to pack religious offerings like prasad, flowers, coconuts, etc.
The MCT will also collaborate will organisations and make eco-friendly products affordable and readily available in the market, “People are bound to panic and unfollow the plastic rule if alternatives are not provided to them. Making arrangements for plastic alternatives will be the most important and challenging part of the plastic ban,” he says.
In the last and final phase, awareness campaigns urging people to ditch plastic will be carried out in public places like malls, markets, super markets, cinema theatres, railway stations and in school and colleges.