VIJAYAWADA: Those who are accustomed to using polythene bags and disposing wastes directly into the water bodies may soon face the music from Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) as the civic body has passed a resolution to impose a complete ban on the procurement, storage, and sale of all kinds of plastic and non-woven polypropylene carry bags from January 1, 2018 onwards.
It is a common practice for city traders-street vendors, hoteliers, vegetable markets- to use plastic covers indiscriminately.
According to the information available with the civic body officials, in Vijayawada, 30 per cent of the municipal solid waste is plastic i.e.150 tonnes is generated per day against the total 550 tonnes.
City-based environmentalists opine that the actual number would be much higher than the estimated figures of VMC as plastic waste thrown into water bodies, vacant sites and alongside roads is not taken into consideration. Rapid urbanisation, increase in the sale of packaged products, change in lifestyle and manufacturing segments adapting to a higher percentage of plastic, are said to be the reasons for the increase in plastic waste.
“There is plastic everywhere and VMC’s decision to ban plastic in the city limits is a welcome move,” said Professor K Ajay, an environmentalist, He also recalled incidents where animals have died after consuming plastic dumped along with food. There are methods to recycle plastic waste where it can be processed and be used as an Alternative Fuel and Raw Material (AFR). Ajay appealed the civic body to focus more on laying bitumen roads by treating the plastic wastes generated in the city.
Expressing concern over dumping garbage in plastic carry bags and burning them on roadside, YSR Congress Party VMC floor leader B Punya Sheela said that several traders and residents in the city are still indiscriminately throwing plastic bags filled with household waste into the canals which should be restricted immediately to prevent the pollution of water bodies. She claimed that irrespective of the size, plastic causes heavy damage to the environment and cannot be recycled, therefore it should be totally banned.
When contacted, VMC in-charge chief medical and health officer Babu Srinivasan informed that the civic body can impose ban only on plastic below 50 microns. A meeting has been already been convened with the traders and business operators. Cloth and paper bags would be promoted and supplied at affordable rates. “For three months, we are going to reach out to the citizens and other stakeholders to generate awareness about the damages caused by plastic waste to the environment. We have planned various campaigns to spread the message,” said Srinivasan.