MAYILADUTHURAI: Though the use of plastic straws was banned in 2019, they are very much in use. But a tender coconut vendor in Vaitheeswarankoil is leading by example by adopting an eco-friendly alternative. V Senthil is lauded by consumers and officials for using straws made of the papaya leaf stalk.
A BA graduate, Senthil said. "I tried using paper straws but they get wet easily. Straws made of papaya leaf stalk are durable and eco-friendly." He had been selling coconut water for around 12 years. "I get papaya leaf stalks from locals who wish to give them away. I clean the stalks and prepare the straw myself. Encouraged by the response from customers, I have planted a tree in my backyard." added V Senthil.
Senthil's success has inspired other vendors into using the green alternative. He received appreciation from residents and social media users. T Manimaran, an engineer in the town, said, "We met Senthil and lauded his idea. We were awed by his justification about health benefits as well."
Officials were all praise for Senthil. According to studies, a plastic drinking water straw takes around 200 years to decompose when buried. "We used to get drinking water straws disposed of by people who drink soft drinks and soft drinks.
We were unable to get rid of them, and we had sent them along with dry and inert wastes to the cement factories. The disposal reduces when such vendors start offering eco-friendly means to the public," said Vaitheeswarankoil Town Panchayat Executive Officer K Kuhan.