Can you think of a place that has no plastic carry bags?
You might think that that’s close to impossible.
Well, it’s definitely much closer to becoming a possibility, especially with really a good alternative!
An entire district in Kerala has been declared free of plastic disposables and carry-bags at the start of this month.
Last year on November 1, a campaign with the objective of phasing out plastic carry-bags, was launched in the district of Kannur. At the same time, the use of handloom-made bags made by various weavers’ cooperative societies was heavily encouraged.
Under a joint initiative of district administration and district panchayats, the mission, at the time of its unveiling, had aimed to achieve the target by April 2, 2017 — and in a short span of five months, quite successfully did so.
The drive, with the slogan “Nalla Nadu, Nalla Mannu,” that means a good village with good soil, makes Kannur the first district in the country bereft of plastic carry bags and disposable articles, as stated by UNI.
Keeping up with the green protocol under the state government’s Haritha Keralam initiative, the sale or use of plastic carry bag and disposable articles like plate and cups has now become strictly prohibited. As of public gatherings, including marriages, the use of disposable articles would require permission from the concerned district officers.
According to the District Police Chief G Siva Vikram, a special drive will be held by the police department within this month to monitor any violations like dumping of plastic or disposable items along roads, public places or water reservoirs, and stringent actions like heavy fining will be taken against those who are caught doing so, as told to UNI.
Cooperating with the district administration, shopping malls, super and hyper markets, hotels, catering agencies and auditoriums in the district have already started arranging handloom-made bags and boxes for packing food.
Now, as a follow up to the district having achieved the plastic carry bag/disposable-free status, the local bodies have started implementing measures, that enforce compliance with the ban on plastic throwaway items, with extensive inspections in shops, markets and manufacturing units.
The decision to do so, in order to ensure that the ban sustains, has been met with much public support. The role of both Collector Mir Mohammed Ali and Panchayat president K.V. Sumesh has been quite pivotal in directing local body heads for taking stern action against violating business establishments that may continue to give away plastic carry bags and disposables such as plates and cups.
“When the district was declared as plastic free, our joy knew no bounds. This could only be made true with the combined effort of not just local administration but the public as well. It’s almost been 5 months now since the campaign was launched. Most of the establishments have completely stopped even keeping disposables. The collector’s insistence upon stringent actions has literally stopped the violators,” says Sneha, a Kannur resident.
Many successful campaigns, after achieving a certain goal, often do not follow up and end up losing aim after a short span of time.
With the district Kannur having achieved its goal through an effective campaign and taking it to next level, it has just made it possible for all of us to believe that nothing is impossible.