Vendors want elasticity in plastic ban

Chennai: Enter any lane in the city, you are sure to see a roadside vendor selling veggies or flowers neatly packed in a plastic bag. With the State banning single-use plastic products, it is sure to hit the small vendors.

While the vendors’ association of popular market like Koyambedu have unanimously agreed to go the green way by swapping the polymer with cloth bags, the unorganised street vendors are left astray without a clue.

News Today finds out how the vendors down the street are prepared.

Soundara, a flower seller in Ekkaduthangal said, “It surely is a blow for us. All these years, we give away the flowers in a plastic cover. Now we need to look for alternatives.”

She further stated their community are looking to go back in time and use leaves or newspapers for wrapping. But feels the customers would be unhappy due to the mess it would create. “The package would not be dry and the flowers may lose its fresh state soon,” added she.

Wanna shop on the go? The suburban trains in the city are the perfect choice. You can spot women selling well-packed apples, pomegrantes, bananas, flowers and the commuter can even snack on the way.

When asked about the alternative to a pineapple seller, the vendor had no clue and another vendor quickly came to her rescue. “Let the new year dawn,” chortled she.

Immediately, the former stated that an alternative flimsy cover resembling plastic is out in the market. “100 pieces just cost Rs 25 in Pallavaram, however, I do not know if it is not plastic,” added she.

On the flip side, the Tamilnadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu are unhappy with the government’s attitude of showing double standards towards small vendors while the corporates are exempted from the rule.

“The government has decided to ban plastic items. But they should come out with alternate for it. Many small traders are involved in manufacturing plastic items and a solution should be sought for them,” said the association’s president A M Vikramaraja.

The association further wants the State government to extend the deadline up to 2022.

While the street vendors are unprepared, popular market hub Koyambedu seems to be ready, “We have given orders for paper bags and all the sellers in the market would make a shift in three months. The customers are also notified of bringing their own bags. Further, the usage of plastic have also been stopped,” said Koyambedu Market Wholesale Traders advisor C R Soundararajan.

Bhavani Prabhakar