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Banned plastic items make a comeback as COVID control works take precedence

At a time when COVID-19 is keeping the civic officials busy, the use of single-use plastic items that are banned by the State government has become rampant and are making a comeback. Besides, the Greater Chennai Corporation and the State government could not implement a government order banning the usage of plastic in packing goods yet.

Banned plastic items make a comeback as COVID control works take precedence


Ban on the single-use plastic items came into effect in the State on January 1, 2019, and the Corporation had seized more than 300 tonnes of banned plastic till December 2019. "We were taking action against the shops using single-use plastic items during the start of 2020. However, due to the pandemic, we could not concentrate on the banned plastic. Our entire workforce, especially of the health department, is deployed for COVID-19 control works," a Chennai Corporation official said.

Meanwhile, on June 5, the government issued an order amending the earlier government order that banned single-use plastic items. The amendment extended the ban to plastic items which are being used in manufacturing and processing units to pack goods. Apart from this, shops in the city have started to provide plastic carry bags to the customers.

Despite the government order, food items and other products covered with banned plastic items continue to flood the city. "We haven't received any direction from the headquarters about the plastic. Controlling pandemic is our foremost priority now," a field-level official said.

On the other hand, customers are also opting for the food items that are packed using plastic covers so that they could wash the packs before opening.

"Since COVID-19, we are washing the packed food items before using them. If the packaging made using other materials, we can not wash. Even though plastic is harmful to the environment, it helps us keep ourselves safe from contracting the virus through food items," M Dhivyapriya, a resident of Kodambakkam said.

Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal had already directed the civic body and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to submit a status report on action taken against single-use plastic items.

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