Despite ban, single-use plastics enter Kodambakkam shops

Chennai: Despite the State-wide ban on plastic, carry bags and other single-use items of the same material, have sneaked into neighbourhood markets, so to speak.

According to media reports, several kilograms of plastics were seized at TASMAC outlets in Kodambakkam, Ambattur and Anna Nagar. Many retail stores in the city have stopped giving plastic bags for customers, but small shops markets continue to use them.

“Manufacturers have stocked up on bags and other products, and are now selling them to local vendors. We did take steps to reduce usage, but the government should cooperate with us,” said the president of Choolaimedu General Merchants’ Association, P Sakthivel, who alleged that since the authorities are busy with elections, they are keeping this issue on the backburner.

The main reason why degradable plastic and cloth bags are not popular alternatives, is that they cost way too high.

However, according to the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board, using compostable bags can be tricky too, as harmful ones are disguised as recyclable and sold in markets.

“Each cloth bag is priced at Rs five,” says a vegetable vendor on Kodambakkam High Road, adding, “It will cost us nearly half our income each day.” “Only when affordable and practical alternatives are introduced, can the ban be enforced properly,” stated another local flour seller in Kodambakkam, and questioned as to how can vendors be expected to follow the order, when the government itself is confused on feasible alternatives.

Article by Sharmada V

NT Bureau