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Friday, January 21, 2022

PCMC’s new initiative: chai, vada pav in exchange for plastic bottles

Any citizen or a garbage collector who hands over five empty plastic bottles to a designated hotelier or vendor will get a cup of tea. And those who hand over 10 empty bottles will get a vada pav.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: January 7, 2022 3:01:45 pm
Any citizen or a garbage collector who hands over five empty plastic bottles to a designated hotelier or vendor will get a cup of tea. (Express Photo: Manoj Dattatrye More)

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), in a novel initiative, has decided to offer a cup of tea and a vada pav to those who hand over empty plastic bottles to civic-appointed hoteliers and vendors. The plan is set to take effect this month.

What is the initiative?

Any citizen or a garbage collector who hands over five empty plastic bottles to a designated hotelier or vendor will get a cup of tea. And those who hand over 10 empty bottles will get a vada pav, a popular Maharashtrian snack available at every nook and corner of the city.

Citizens possessing empty plastic bottles will have to approach the nearest hotelier or vendor designated by the civic body. PCMC has invited applications from such businesses who want to participate in the project. PCMC will reimburse them on a monthly basis. They will get Rs 10 for one cup of tea and Rs 15 for offering a vada pav.

The purpose

The objective of the plan is to make the city plastic-free. Civic officials said PCMC has been making efforts to make the city plastic-free, but it has not been able to do so because of several reasons.

One of the reasons is that there are no takers for empty plastic bottles. “At least a beer bottle fetches Re 1, but there are no buyers for plastic bottles,” said PCMC Health Chief Dr Anil Roy.

Plastic bottles are not only environmental hazards, but clog nullahs, canals and other water bodies.

“Every day, tonnes of plastic waste is generated, but disposal is a major problem. With this initiative, we are trying to lessen the plastic menace in the city,” officials said.

Question mark over vada pav

Some civic activists say that instead of vada pav, PCMC should offer a healthier snack.

“Vada pav is deeply soaked in adulterated oil by some roadside vendors and small hoteliers who can’t afford a healthier version of oil. This is not a good choice for the heart,” said advocate Sushil Mancharkar.

PCMC, however, said it would verify whether the hoteliers and vendors possess food licences. “If hoteliers have the food licence, then they have strictly follow the norms of serving healthy food. Besides, our teams will also be checking the hygiene and cleanliness conditions at such hotels on a regular basis,” Dr Roy said.

Bottles for fuel

After collecting the empty bottles, PCMC will take them to Moshi garbage depot. The plastic bottles will be converted into fuel. “We have a plant at Moshi where we convert the plastic into industrial oil,” Dr Roy said.

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