The Maharashtra government has directed urban local bodies to earmark at least one day of every month as ‘plastic-free’ in every city and follow innovative ways to discourage the use of plastic, such as seeking the help of religious and public leaders to include the issue in their public discourses.
In a bid to further push Swachhata hi Seva — a programme launched last year by the Union government — a government resolution (GR) issued recently has directed all urban local bodies to implement the programme rigorously from September 11 to October 27, with special attention on tackling plastic waste in their respective jurisdictions.
The GR by the state Urban Development Department has suggested that local bodies should declare a complete ban on single-use plastic items like cutlery, water bottles, wrappers and containers during any public event or festival. The ban should be implemented in all government offices and residential premises across the state, including those of public sector units and related entities, it stated.
After PM appeal, a renewed drive against single-use plastic
While there have been several attempts at the state and civic-body level to curtail the use of plastic, they haven’t been very successful. Now, the nation-wide drive against single-use plastic has been renewed with vigour after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to citizens to join the movement against it. However, civic bodies, which have to implement this policy on the ground, face a tough task and long road ahead before these efforts yield any result.
The department has also suggested a list of activities with a timetable for the implementation of the programme. The urban local bodies have to raise awareness on the collection and disposal of plastic items from September 11 to October 1. On the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a shramdaan has to be organised to collect plastic waste, after which the collected waste will be transported from all the wards to the main collection hubs from October 3 to October 7, followed by segregation into recyclables and non-recyclables from October 8 to 10 and transportation for recyling and disposal from October 11 to 27.
The GR has urged urban local bodies to earmark at least one day of every month as ‘plastic-free’ day, as well as felicitate NGOs and citizens who have done exemplary work towards banning plastic. “Resident welfare associations, hotels and other bulk waste generators, which have become ‘plastic-free’, should be felicitated and given incentives,” it stated.
The Urban Development department urged, “The civic bodies should encourage all religious leaders and public speakers to reiterate and stress the necessity for reducing plastic use, during their public discourse.”
The state government further asked civic bodies to encourage all restaurant aggregrators to replace plastic delivery containers with bio-degradable options and recommended that eateries and shops along waterfronts should be banned from using plastic containers and wrappers.
Urban local bodies have also been asked to carry out public awareness campaigns against plastic use via various forums.