AP temples to be plastic-free from July

Plastic carry bags, sale of bottled drinking water near temples banned; it will be implemented during festivals also  

Published: 10th May 2022 06:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th May 2022 06:57 AM   |  A+A-

plastic ban, banned

Image used for representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: From July, devotees visiting temples will have to carry jute, cloth or paper bags as plastic carry bags have been banned on the temple premises across the State. Not just single-use plastic carry bags, the sale of bottled drinking water in and around the temples has been banned. In order to encourage eco-friendly practices in temples across the State, Endowments commissioner M Hari Jawaharlal issued orders to all temple executive officers (EOs) and temple officials asking them to ban all kinds of plastic like water bottles, prasadam covers, carry bags, pooja materials and others, even during the festival season. 

“We have observed a huge increase of single-use plastic usage in all the temples with devotees and temple staff largely dependent on it for carrying things to the temple. Though some temples like Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada imposed a ban on plastic covers earlier, it failed to evoke positive response from the devotees and shopkeepers due to various reasons. But this time, we are coming up with a strict plan of action to make sure that no devotee or employee uses plastic covers in the temples,” the endowments commissioner said, during a review meeting held with temple authorities.

As per the orders, in the temples fall under 6(a) category, the executive officers should implement the plastic ban in and around the temples and make sure that no devotee carries plastic covers during his/her visit to the temple. He also stressed the need to make temples ‘plastic-free zones’. In Andhra Pradesh, a total of 24,699 temples, mutts and Satrams fall under the ambit of the endowments department, of which 174 temples, 28 mutts and Satrams are classified into category 6 (a) — annual income above Rs 25 lakh. 

Similarly, the sale of plastic bottled water has been banned near the 174 temples. 

“On the lines of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), steps will be taken to provide clean fresh water to the devotees. Plastic tumblers will be replaced by steel tumblers while returnable glass bottles take over plastic bottles soon,” said a senior Endowments official on the condition of anonymity. The commissioner instructed officials to conduct training programmes for both temple staff and shopkeepers on the preparations to shift to non-plastic packaging. 

“Though it will seem costly and a bit tough to adapt to the old practices at present, it will get absorbed in the long run as it helps to reduce pollution due to plastic. Ban will be implemented in a phased manner and shopkeepers near temples will be given time to change. Temples stand for traditions and plastics are an intrusion into that ethos. We are trying to revive the culture of devotees carrying flowers, archana items and offerings in bamboo, wooden, steel baskets to the temples,” Jawaharlal said. He instructed officials to install boards and make announcements on a regular basis asking devotees not to bring plastic materials into the temple premises.



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