KOCHI: The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has banned the use of plastic in all major tourist destinations in the state. KSPCB has listed 68 tourist spots - where the ban was imposed from November 1 - and alerted all local self-governing bodies. The directive claims tourist activities pose risk to the environment due to the wide use of plastic items, including carrying bags and single-use plastic items.
Therefore, under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the KSPCB chairman has issued directives imposing ban on supply, store, transport, sale/distribution and use of plastic. The use of plastic, if found in violation of the law, shall be confiscated and fined by local authorities, said the directive.
“The theme of this year’s World Environment Day was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. Also, the state government has introduced various environmental-friendly measures like the implementation of ‘green protocol’ to discourage usage of plastic. The ban introduced by KSPCB intends to discourage people from using disposable plastic objects at tourist destinations. We have sent the directive to all local self-governing bodies to enforce the ban,” said M A Baiju, Ernakulam Chief Environmental Engineer.
In Ernakulam, the ban has been imposed in Kochi city, Fort Kochi, Kalady, Aluva, Maradu, Paravoor, Cherai Beach, Ezhatumukham, Malayatoor, Kadambrayar, Kuzhipilly beach, Munnabam beach, Aluva Mannapuram, Arikkal waterfalls, Iringol, Boothathankettu, Kumbalangi and Kanjoor. The ban is not applicable to milk pouch/food grade plastic bags with a thickness of 50 microns and above and plastic used for packaging of medicines.
Plastic bags used for agriculture, horticulture and plant nurseries with the thickness of 50 microns and above do not come under the ban. Similarly, raincoats, tarpaulin sheets and pens have been excluded from the ban.K P Nandakumar, Joint Director Ernakulam, Kerala Tourism, said such initiatives will benefit the tourism destination.
The Tourist Department has also come out with a similar initiative - green carpet - under which polluting objects are discouraged at tourist destinations. “We will be introducing campaigns to make tourists aware of environmental threats posed by dumping plastic waste in these places,” he said.
KSPCB to monitor air quality on Deepavali day
Kochi: KSPCB will monitor air quality in all districts on Deepavali to check air pollution. “Though air pollution during Deepavali is much lesser in Kerala compared to other states, we will be recording the Air Quality Index. In Thiruvananthapuram, where Deepavali is more popular, teams have been formed for conducting checkings. In Kochi, the Deepavali celebrations are concentrated in a few pockets and hence, pollution will be low here,” said M A Baiju, Regional Chief Engineer, KSPCB.
Don’t carry these
The ban is imposed on all plastic items such as carry bags, non-woven carry bags, flex/banners, buntings, plates, cups, straws, spoons, bottles, pounces, flags, sheets used for covering, cling films, all single-use plastic materials, beads and plastic decorative in tourist destinations. The ban is also applicable to all items made of thermocol, styrofoam/polypropylene.