Plastic bags: the bane of Chennai

Go anywhere in Chennai, particularly the Southern suburbs, and you will see hundreds of plastic bags lying by the roadside. Mounds and mounds of them, non-biodegradable for hundreds of years, with no chance of proper disposal the way garbage is collected and cleared. According to The Hindu in a Novermber, 2005 article, the Perungudi and Kodungaiyur dumping yards had 240 tonnes of plastic bags being dumped in them everyday! The same article highlights the fact that the terrible flooding in Mumbai and Chennai during the monsoons that year were, in part, because of the thousands of plastic bags clogging the drainage channels in both cities. Check out this article here. The sad thing is, despite a bill being brought up to ban the use of plastic bags in Chennai in 2001, it was not passed. How much damage do we need to our surroundings before the government will realize the importance of doing this? Are environmental protection groups working on this? What is the Tamil Nadu Pollution Board doing about this vexing situation? With all the good work they have done on noise, water and air pollution, one only hopes they will pick up this cause and ensure a bill is passed banning the use of plastic bags. Then we can work to reclaim our environment and our children’s heritage.

7 Comments so far

  1. Ramki (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 12:35 am

    Unfortunately our Elite and Policial Leaders think that environmental problems can be wished away by planting a few hundred or few thousand tree saplings.

    But things like this Plastic Bag isssue mentioned here are bigger dangers to our environment.

  2. Madhusudanan (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 3:02 am

    I travel from Bangalore to Chennai every fortnight and i noticed that not only in Chennai but this plastic bag menace is everywhere in India. I was able to see plastic bags scattered over the entire Bangalore-Chennai rail route. It was very upsetting to see scores of plastic bags even in the Dharmapuri-Krishnagiri NHAI Highway which even boasts of a Eco-friendly stretch. People do not have any awareness and adding to this the so called Retail stores like Food world, Reliance have increased the use of plastic bags.Dont they have any responsibility?I think the government is least bothered about the Environmental degradation.Usage of plastic bags have become more like a habit for everyone.

  3. Navneeth (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 3:17 am

    The people should be the responsible ones, at least in this case.

    Departmental stores are very generous in offering plastic bags. Politely refuse to use them, and if you can carry the things you bought back to your car/house without much difficulty, why use them?

    Reuse them as much as possible.

    Spread this message to everyone and make them follow it.

  4. beachsundal (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 11:58 am

    Its sheer politics, I remember there was some act that was enforced to control the usage of plastic bags durin the previous government, but as always, it was defeated by the masses. I singapore, just recently, there is a consortium of retail stores that have joined hands to impose a fee on plastic bags especially IKEA, which has totally done away with free plastic bags. Each plastic bag is charged and I feel something similar should be done and must probably start with chains like Reliacne Fresh, Spencers Daily, Nilgiris, etc rather than rely on efforts and measures from the government.

  5. suppamani (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

    I remember sometimes back the Nilgiris Departmental Stores were allowing a small discount on their Bills if you bring your own Bag, which should not be a Plastic Bag and should be of envoronmental friendly one; I don’t know whetehr they are follwoing the same at present.

  6. Anand Palaniswamy (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

    The usage of plastic bags is only going to go up with the rise of retail shops and in a country with a huge population as ours, the consequence of indiscriminate use is indeed grim for the future. It has to be a joint effort by the govt to educate the public and increase awareness and by business to encourage and create incentives for people to reuse bags or use other means.
    Also, with more waste being produced by the increase in consumer goods, the govt should take steps to encourage recycling and provide the means necessary.

  7. sachin (unregistered) on April 30th, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

    Solution: Make plastic bags chargeable by Imposing a 300% duty. After that, most ppl will bring cloth bags to their kirana stores.

    The government is vexed as plastic industry provides employment and hence they cannot ban plastic bags on the face of it.

    So its upto the individual to contribute on the enviromental front. My question is, do u individually refrain from using plastic bags? If no, then why blame govt ? Charity begins at home.

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