HYDERABAD: Those visiting temples will soon have to carry jute, cloth or paper bags as the use of plastic will be banned in temples across the State, Forest, Environment and Endowments Minister A Indrakaran Reddy announced on Tuesday. He, however, did not mention when the ban would come into effect.
“We will take measures to see that plastic is not used at any temple in the state,” Indrakaran Reddy said after a review meeting with officials at Aranya Bhavan, the Forest Department headquarters. Reddy has directed officials to take stern action against those selling plastic carry bags at temples and also against companies manufacturing plastic bags.
The minister recalled that the Centre has banned the use of plastic bags weighing 50 microns or less. “Just as the use of plastic bags and goods is banned in Mumbai, Telangana too should be plastic-free,” he said.
When contacted, an Endowments Department official said, “As of now, no date has been finalised for the implementation of the ban.“The ban will be implemented in a phased manner as shopkeepers near temples will need time to change,” the official added.
“The minister has instructed us to study what alternatives can be provided to plastic bags. We can consider jute and cloth bags, but first shopkeepers need to be made aware of the ban.”
Cases against culprits
Asserting that several steps would have to be initiated to curb the pollution, the minister said the government was mulling filing criminal cases against polluting industries as well the hospitals.
“We will impose a ban on old vehicles too as they emit more pollutants,” Reddy said and asked officials to take action against owners of such vehicles.
“The government should nip the problem in bud and ensure that no shopkeeper sells plastic covers near temples so that people bring their own bags,” environmentalist Jeevanand Reddy said.“The government can also rope in contractors to provide jute or cloth bags,” he said.Reddy also suggested that “temples should use cups made of leaf or other biodegradable materials to serve prasadam to the devotees”.
Time to transition
The ban on plastic will be implemented in a phased manner as shopkeepers near temples will need time to transition, an Endowments Department official told Express.