Use of plastic bags in shops and supermarkets in the city is still prevalent. The civic body imposed a ban on plastic bags up to 40 microns in May 2011. The use of plastic bags from petty shops to supermarkets shows the glaring violation of the ban that remains only on papers.
Activists now fear that since the civic body has shifted its focus to waste segregation at source, the drive against plastic bags will soon be out of its purview.
Corporation sources admitted that they are now focusing more on waste management but assured that appropriate action will be taken to curb the use of plastic bags below 40 microns. The city extrudes 800 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis, including about 50 tonnes of plastic material disposed by commercial and residential users.
Anti-plastic activists also share the concern that with the works on underground sewerage and storm water drainage systems in progress in the city, unless the ban is implemented in full vigour it will hamper the success of these projects. While shopkeepers and the public blame each other, absence of an effective anti-plastic drive too has contributed to the unchecked growth of plastic bags.
"Shopkeepers are promoting plastic bags. If you walk into any shop, the customer will get everything in plastic bags, which can be easily avoided," said R Raveendaran, secretary of Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore (RAAC). Calling for increased level of awareness among all sections of the public, he said that unchecked growth of any type of plastic bags will prove disastrous to the civic projects especially the underground sewerage scheme.
As anti-plastic bag drives were not carried out regularly, plastic carry bags have returned to affect the environment.
As per original plan, shopkeepers should provide only plastic bags which are above 40 microns and should carry the details of the manufacturer. "Except for a few major chains of stores, all other shops continue to provide plain plastic bags which do no carry any detail about the manufacturer," said K Antony Selvaraj, an ant-plastic campaign volunteer.
According to him, plastic bags are the major reason for choking of most drainage lines in the city. The corporation has already started experiencing trouble even before the completion of the underground sewerage scheme, he said.
It is also learnt that the civic body has now shifted their attention to waste segregation at source and solid waste management leaving behind the drive against plastic bags.
Source : Times of India