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Big haul on single-use plastic as Corporation cracks whip on local firms
As part of their crackdown on single-use plastic below 50 microns, officials of Greater Chennai Corporation seized 8.5 tonnes of low-quality plastic that was being transported by lorries into the city limits.
According to an official, the Corporation Commissioner D Karthikeyan had directed plastic manufacturers in the city to cease the production of carry bags lesser than 50 microns. However, when the quantum of these flimsy carry bags only kept increasing, an inquiry was launched. “While plastic manufacturers in Chennai had stopped production of low-quality carry bags after our order, we found that it has been brought into the city from other districts such as Erode and Salem and states like Gujarat. When the lorry strike ended, we were sure that a consignment will make its way to the city,” said the official who was a part of the raid.
On Walltax Road, a lorry belonging to A1 Matheswara Lorry Service was stopped on Tuesday morning by a team of officials from Zone 5 (Royapuram), which included three sanitary officers and five sanitary workers. “As much as 8.5 tonnes of carry bags below 50 microns, valued at Rs 120-140 per kg, were seized. Though the plastic bags were labelled as 51 microns, our equipment found out that these were around 20-30 microns. The carry bags were seized and are now in our custody. Following Commissioner’s order, they will be shredded and then used to construct roads,” said the official.
With the state looking at a complete ban on single-use plastic from January 1, 2019, the Corporation has started taking stringent action on those selling carry bags below 50 microns. “A meeting was held on July 19 with the plastic manufacturers’ associations and almost 200 retailers. We explained the stipulations of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, which detail the kinds of plastic that will be banned. Before the state government’s ban from January next year, we wanted to start by tackling the menace of low-grade carry bags, which are impossible to recycle. When the quantity of these carry bags kept increasing, we were forced to seize these covers,” said the official.
The Corporation hopes that the traders, retailers and the public will cooperate, to rid Chennai of low-grade, highly polluting carry bag.
NO COVER UP
- The ban on manufacture, sale, storage and usage of items such as plastic cups, water sachets, straws and carry bags will come into effect from January 1, 2019.
- The AIADMK government had announced a similar ban in 2002.
- The Chennai Corporation had put into effect a ban on plastic bags lesser than 40 microns thick in 2015. But it had little effect.