Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's capital, Thiruvananthapuram, which was ranked first in the annual city governance ranking in a recent national survey, is now on its way to be declared as complete 'plastic-free' zone soon.
As an initial step, the City Coroporation here has imposed a blanket ban on all types of plastic carry bags within its limits from 1 March.
"Green protocol has also been made mandatory for the conduct of all festivals and celebrations here from now on," Corporation sources said.
Besides plastic carry bags, use of plastic sheets, multi-layer plastic covers, disposable plates and glasses and packaged commodities will also be banned in the next phase, they said.
The authorities have also launched efforts to introduce eco-friendly cloth and paper carry bags in place of non-degradable plastic ones, which pose the biggest challenge in waste management.
Deputy Mayor Rakhi Rravikumar said over 5000 kg of banned plastic has been seized from various outlets in the,city including branded shops in the last four days after the implementation of the ban.
The initiative would be a boon for the waste management initiatives in the city, where disposal of solid waste is a big issue, she said.
"The Corporation has formed a number of special squads to conduct raids across the city to seize plastic carry bags and issue notice to those who violate the ban," she told PTI.
"The ban will be made stricter from next month. Fine will be imposed on those shops and outlets which do not comply with the ban.We are also mulling stern steps like cancellation of the license of such shops which violate the order," she said.
Despite repeated warning by health and environmental experts, use of plastic articles, especially carry bags, is rampant in Kerala including in the capital city.
Carry bags made of low-quality plastic which pose great health and environment hazards, were widely used in majority of shops ranging from malls and branded super markets to street-side outlets.
The habit of burning plastic by city-dwellers and consuming hot food wrapped in plastic covers in hotels and street take-away also posed serious health concerns.
With an aim to put in place a permanent solution to the plastic menace, the Corporation is planning to introduce eco-friendly alternatives in its place, the Deputy Mayor said.
"We are carrying out an exhibition titled Go Green Expo to create awareness about alternatives to plastic carry bags. Public response to it is really good," she said.
In the Expo, the Corporation facilitates a platform for manufacturers of eco-friendly paper and cloth bags. Those interested can place orders for the product directly there, the Deputy Mayor said.
Though the initiative garnered positive response from public as well as residents' associations, traders and shopkeepers are on a warpath against the move as they depended completely on plastic carry bags to distribute articles.
However, the Deputy Mayor said the plastic ban would be implemented effectively and the police help would be sought if necessary to carry out raids in shops.
Thiruvananthapuram was awarded top rank in the city governance ranking, Annual Survey of India's City-System (ASICS), undertaken by not-for-profit institution Janaagraha
Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (JCCD) which evaluated 21 major cities from the country's 18 states.
Pune is ranked second while Kolkata in the third slot in the survey, released last month.
Updated Date: Mar 05, 2017 17:12 PM