How Chennai coped up with plastic ban

One month after the plastic ban was enforced in the State, News Today took a field visit to see how effectively the rule is being implemented.

The usage of plastic has visibly gone down with many commercial outlets resorting to alternative bags.

At many places, residents too are seen carrying their own covers to shops, even as a few hotels in the locality have asked customers to bring their own vessels for sambar and chutneys.

The ban has brought good tidings to banana leaf sellers. “We have seen a sudden rise in sales, with many restaurants giving bulk orders,” a seller said.

Similarly, conservancy workers too seem to be glad that plastic consumption has been reduced.
“Earlier, too much of it will be dumped in the garbage, making it difficult for us to segregate.
But now, things are a lot easier,” said Sundar, a conservancy worker.

Signboard about plastic ban kept at Sembakkam.

Municipality officials, on their part, said they have been constantly creating awareness among shopkeepers and the public.

“We go on surprise raids and if any plastic is found in the locality, spot fines are collected,”
an official said, adding, “Apart from this, posters and banners regarding the ill-effects of the usage of plastic, are also placed in several places in the neighbourhood.”

According to Madambakkam Traders Union president N C Selvakumar, 500 shops coming under its limit have been asked not to use plastic bags. “We have given 10,000 cloth bags at subsidised rates. The actual cost of each is Rs 25, but after seeking help from few sponsors, we are giving it for Rs 10 to the shopkeepers. One bag can hold up to 25 kilograms of groceries. So far, we have given 5,000 bags and based on the feedback we will try to increase the numbers. We have also advised the sellers to refund the amount (Rs 10) if the customer returns the bag. This way, people will get used to this and the usage of plastic can also be reduced,” he said.

Photo: C SANTHOSH

Balasubramani Muniyandi