Noida: In a bid to raise awareness about the impact of plastic and encourage the use of eco-friendly alternatives, the Noida Authority has come up with ‘Say No to Plastics’ drive under which it proposes to make the city a plastic-free zone, officials said on Tuesday.
Senior officials said the initiative, which will begin from 4 July, will be a “people’s initiative” and bring about change in their attitude towards environmental protection.
“We will distribute cloth bags to citizens, vegetable and fruit vendors to encourage them to stop using plastics,” Noida Authority’s chairman-cum-chief executive officer Alok Tandon said.
These cloth bags, however, will not be free of cost. They will be distributed at subsidised rates to the people and vendors, he said. Tandon told that the authority has got support from some private partners in the initiative.
“The main purpose is to make this drive a people’s initiative wherein the public will be encouraged to switch over to cloth bags and completely do away with plastic bags when they go to markets for purchasing groceries. This will reduce the plastic waste so generated and will be good for the city’s long-term environmental health,” he said.
At present, the authority frequently carries out anti-plastic inspections, penalises offenders and confiscates polythene bags.
The Uttar Pradesh government had banned the use of polythene bags and items of common use made of plastic from 15 July 2018.
Traders, however, are sceptical over the “half-baked” decision, saying such drives are being carried out in the city since the last 20 years, either by Noida Authority or the district administration, while the need of the hour is to stop it at manufacturing level itself.
“There is a need to check plastic and polythene at the manufacturing level itself. It is strange that you are selling milk and other grocery items in plastic packets, but penalising a vegetable vendor,” said Sushil Jain, president of Noida’s Sector 18 Market Association.
Rahul Gupta, president of Traders’ Association of Savitri Market, hailed the move as a positive step but said the need is also to raise awareness among the public.
“If something like this is happening, it is no doubt a good move. But we must understand that it is easier for shopkeepers and well off customers to use paper or cloth bags for shopping. Streetside vendors use plastic because it is cheaper and easily available,” he said.
According to an official estimate, 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country. Plastic takes anywhere between 450 to 1,000 years to decompose.