The ‘Plastic Wall’ project in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district will soon be turned into a solid wall using a Gabion mesh, as per a new experiment by the municipality. The Plastic Wall – a project which was kick-started on June 5, 2020, on the occasion of ‘World Environment Day’ – is now 26.75 meters with at least 12000 kg plastic waste (non-saleable and non-recyclable).
The Coonoor municipality is now planning to cover it with a Gabion mesh so that it is fire and waterproof and can help in preventing landslides that are frequent in the area.
It is further planning to construct more such walls in areas where landslides are frequent if this idea works.
Talking about the Plastic Wall, PM Malamurugan, sanitary Inspector at the Coonoor municipality, said, “Normally, we build walls with bricks, but these are built by soiled and other non-recyclable waste particles. Our Municipal Health Officer J Ragunathan suggested this idea. Plastics take approximately 120 years to decompose, so we thought why shouldn’t we experiment with this.”
“There are a few areas we need to work, if we can get all things right, this can be a long term solution,” he added.
The Coonoor Municipality has been actively involved in anti-plastic activities as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission after `Antiplastic Rules 2016` came into existence.
The authorities claim that even before the state had implemented the ban in 2019, the municipality had taken several measures to curb the use of plastics.
The district administration has banned the sale of single-use plastic items including water bottles, soft drinks, and food items packed in plastic wrappers along the highways. They claimed that plastics contaminates groundwater and possess a threat to wildlife.
However, despite various steps, the administration was not able to completely ban the use of plastic. The municipality had tried segregating plastic waste manually to be disposed of, but could not afford the huge expenditure incurred towards manpower and transportation.
“We suggested the installation of ‘Heavy-duty Baling Machine’ in a meeting with the district collector. At least seven tons of waste in one shipment can be transported with a baling machine as compared to the manual method. So we brought in sponsors and an NGO named ‘Clean Coonoor’ joined us in establishing the machine at the municipal dump yard in Ottupattarai. A little over one lakh metric tons of dry waste has been handled in the past year because of this step,” Ragunathan told indianexpress.com.