As a part of its campaign against the use of polythene bags, the district administration launched a van to spread awareness on harmful effects of using polythene bags.
The campaign, titled Polythene Mukt Jagrukta Abhiyan (polythene-free awareness campaign), involves a group of volunteers who travel in the van to markets to spread awareness against the use of polythene bags. The van has been making rounds of the city for around two weeks. Eco-friendly bags, made of cotton and jute, hang on the sides of the van and the campaign title is written on the front of the vehicle.
“The van was launched recently by the administration to encourage people to use bags made of cotton or jute and save the environment. The vehicle is managed by social volunteers,” Shyam Sunder, in-charge of the no-polythene campaign, said. Sunder is the secretary of the district red cross society.
The white coloured four-wheeler has a toll free number— 1800-180-1817— written on its sides for residents to complain against those using or manufacturing polythene bags. It also has anti-polythene slogans written on the sides.
The volunteers sell eco-friendly bags for a cost of Rs10. The money from the sale of bags is given to the families of inmates of the Bhondsi Jail, who make the bags.
Sunder said, “We are trying to change the lives of the inmates’ families. A number of them (inmates) volunteered to make the bags and asked us to help their family in return. The money we are making is for a cause.”
However, unchecked use of plastic bags by shopkeepers and residents raises questions on the efforts of the administration to check polythene use. Only five challans have been issued by the administration since February during its polythene-free campaign.
“We are not issuing fines on a large-scale as the administration does not want to instil fear. We want people to realise the harmful effects of polythene on the environment,” Sunder said.