CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government had informed the Madras HC about the possibility of replacing plastic water cans/bubble tops with other materials including glass bottles, biodegradable disposable bottles, boxed water, and water vending machines.
R Lalvena, commissioner, Food Safety Department, made this submission through a counter before the court. As the division bench of Justice S Vaidyanathan and PT Asha directed the State to find out ways to eradicate the water cans, the State came up with alternative methods to replace them.
“Glass bottles were used long before plastic water bottles hit the market. Glass bottles are clean and pure, and do not leach chemicals into the water or environment. However, they do shatter with impact and temperature changes. So be cautious when handling them,” submitted Lalvena.
The government added that not all plastic water bottles are bad, as it depends on the kind of plastic used to make the bottle. “You can find a code at the bottom of the water bottles to see what kind of plastic bottles they are. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), High-Density Polyethylene HDPE, and Polypropylene (PP) are recyclable. Reusable plastic bottles are often made with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or PP with thicker walls that make them more durable than a disposable one,” the officer said.
Explaining the boxed-water bottles, the government stated that boxed water uses paper and fibre materials instead of plastic, metal, or glass bottles. Boxed-water packaging is recyclable, but it may come with a plastic spout that will need to be separated from packaging before recycling. “Water vending machines or water Automated Teller Machine (ATM) can be installed at railway station, bus stand, tourist spot, worship place,” the State noted.
The officer also informed the court about the process of making drinking water such as dosing system, filtering steps, demineralisation by reverse osmosis system, UV system, visual examination, and testing. It also noted that the State had directed eateries not to pack hot food items in plastic bags.