June 5th, 2018 was a revolutionary day for the people of Tamil Nadu. The government had declared a complete ban on plastic and other nonbiodegradable products to take a step towards making a greener planet. The plastic ban goes into effect from the 1st of January, 2019. The government took a stand as the amount of plastic waste was increasing day by day and people were careless regarding the same.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, E K Palaniswamy, who took this huge step, stated that a similar attempt was made back in 2002 when Jayalalitha was in power.
This smart step that will make a huge difference in the forthcoming years. With the plastic ban just around the corner, the government had let out the list of all plastic banned items and their alternatives.
1. Plastic sheets for food wrapping and spreading on the table.
Alternative: Paper rolls that are available can be used for a similar purpose without disrupting the eco-waste management scheme.
2. Plastic thermocol, Plastic coated plates.
Alternative: A very good substitute for disposable plates is Leaf Basket plates and tableware which is completely made of areca leaves and 100% biodegradable. Additionally, plantain leaves, aluminum foil plates or lotus leaves can be used; which are, needless to say, much less sturdy.
3. Plastic coated paper cups, Plastic teacups, Plastic tumblers, Thermocol cups.
Alternative: Glass and metal tumblers can be used rather than plastic ones and if that isn’t fancy enough, you get bamboo or other wooden products that look beautiful and serve the same purpose in style.
4. Plastic carry bags of all sizes and thickness, Plastic coated carry bags, Non woven bags.
Alternative: Cloth, paper or jute bags can be used and are widely used now in most parts of India even before the ban was declared. Not only do they glow in the eco-friendly aspect but also are a sight for sore eyes as compared to dull, sulky looking plastic bags.
5. Plastic straws.
Alternative: Paper straws, yes, you heard it right! Paper straws don’t get all sogged up and drift on the surface of your drink. They are processed and work just as good as plastic straws.
6. Plastic flags.
Alternative: Patriotism is one emotion we all feel on 2 days in a year on Republic Day and Independence Day. The next day these flags end up on the road or dustbins and just as disrespectful that is, the plastic ones make it worse by ending up as an indisposable waste. The perfect alternative to this is cloth or paper flags, and reuse it rather than buying a new one every year.
Other items suggested by the government are ceramic tableware, earthen pots and edible cutlery which is easily disposable and the latter is an ingenious way of making cutlery.
Let us take a step closer to making a better eco-friendly living for our future.
There are initiatives being taken to spread this awareness to the people like #PLASTICGOTTAGO by Times Of India. This kind of awareness will help people to understand the importance of using plastic alternatives and reduce carbon foot print in our environment.
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