Puri to recycle plastic waste from Rath Yatra, aims for sustainable festival

Sources said, the bottles, cans and containers were generally segregated and disposed of by crushing.
Rath Yatra festival in Puri.
Rath Yatra festival in Puri. (Photo | PTI)

BHUBANESWAR: The heaps of plastic bottles strewn across Grand Road in Puri during Rath Yatra will not end up in landfills. The Puri administration has decided to recycle all such bottles generated during the Rath Yatra to Niladri Bije period this year.

Every year during Rath Yatra - one of the biggest festivals of Odisha - alone, Puri witnesses a congregation of 5-8 lakh devotees. This leads to generation of several tonnes of plastic waste including bottles, cans, food containers and water sachets. Events like Bahuda, Suna Besha and Niladri Bije also produce plastic waste in huge quantities.

Sources said, the bottles, cans and containers were generally segregated and disposed of by crushing. “This time, though, plastic waste collection and segregation will be done in an organised manner and all the bottles collected would be sent for recycling to a facility at Nagpur,” said Puri Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain. Earlier, the sanitation workers used to process the plastic waste through mixed waster processing at the materials recovery facility. Besides, ragpickers collect a significant chunk of it and send it to informal channels for the purpose.

Going by the past records, over 30 lakh plastic bottles will be collected from July 7 to 19 from Grand Road and other crowded spots in Puri, tentatively. “The administration is collaborating with Hindustan Coca Cola Beverage to recycle all the plastic bottles. We have suggested recycling the used bottles into either dustbins or water bottles,” he added.

For collecting the plastic trash, close to 200 volunteers will be engaged by the district administration at different points like Grand Road (the Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra route), sea beach, bus stand and parking areas. The volunteers will also help the Municipality officials in segregating the waste.

Even as attempts had been made in the past to make Rath Yatra plastic-free, it hasn’t been possible so far. Earlier, Coca Cola had helped the local administration in plastic waste management and disposal during Rath Yatra.

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