KOCHI: With the state moving towards the ban on single-use plastics from January 1, 2020, the employees of Cochin Port Trust have been asked to bring food and water to office only in steel containers from the New Year. The employees would be also restricted from bringing plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items to the office.
According to Jijo Thomas, senior deputy secretary, Cochin Port Trust, awareness programmes against
single-use plastics had started in September with the Swachhata Hi Seva campaign.“We have already started serving water in glass tumblers and bottles during meetings at our office. We had already moved forward with the concept when the government announced the ban from January 1,” he said.
To create awareness on the menace of single-use plastics, the Cochin Port Trust along with CISF, CoPT Unit, KV Port Trust, leading hotels and trade organisations in the Port area has set up a 24-ft-high Christmas tree made out of 25,000 single-use plastic water bottles at CoPT walkway, Willingdon Island, near Kannanghat Bridge. The bottles were collected by Port Trust employees, hotels in the port area and students.
Jijo said the fact that they were able to collect 25,000 bottles in a month paints a grim picture. “These bottles were just from the Port area. So imagine the situation across the state,” he said.The organisers have also put up a signature board near the tree requesting the public to join their campaign. “Several people are stopping to see the tree and signing on the hoarding. We believe that at least one lakh people will see the installation before it is removed on December 31,” said Jijo.
After the campaign in September, many hotels in the Port area had significantly brought down the usage of plastic. “Many have started using glass bottles to serve water. Some are even using cans to buy milk and have stopped packing food in plastic containers,” added Jijo.
‘Do It Yourself’
In association with St Teresa’s College, the Cochin Port Trust had recently organised a ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) session to make shopping bags from used T-shirts. The session aims at teaching the employees to make shopping bags at home, thereby curbing the use of plastic bags. The Cochin Port Trust employees will be provided with a cloth bag priced C35.
Dismantling the tree
The Cochin Port fraternity is exploring different ways to safely dispose of the plastic bottles once the tree is dismantled. “We are aiming for ‘responsible recycling’. We are considering innovative ideas from the public for the disposal of bottles. The best idea will be implemented,” said Jijo.