This Republic Day, say no to plastic tricolours: NGO | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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This Republic Day, say no to plastic tricolours: NGO

About 400 plastic tricolours were found strewn on a Thane street on Independence Day last year.

mumbai Updated: Jan 02, 2010 01:33 IST
Soubhik Mitra

About 400 plastic tricolours were found strewn on a Thane street on Independence Day last year.

On Friday, Enviro Vigil, a Thane-based non-government organisation, started a campaign against the menace in the run-up to the Republic Day celebrations.

Volunteers from the NGO will visit schools and colleges across the city to create awareness about the ill effects of plastic.

“We want to caution children about the ill effects of plastic,” said Vidyadhar Walawalkar, general secretary, Enviro Vigil.

Plastics are durable and degrade very slowly.

For instance, one billion tonnes of plastic dumped in 1950 could take hundreds or thousands of years to degrade.

Also, production of plastic releases chemical pollutants and burning it emits toxic fumes in the air.

According to civic statistics, Mumbai generates 8,000 metric tonnes of garbage every day of which plastic accounts for 4 per cent.

Sale of plastic flags is rampant despite a two-year-old government ordinance prohibiting their production.

“The ordinance empowers government agencies like local civic bodies and the police to take action against people selling the unsafe product,” added Walawalkar.

The NGO is also running a simultaneous signature campaign to spread the word. Volunteers are visiting housing complexes and also connecting with people on the Internet.

“We are trying to involve senior Army officials and similar dignitaries in the campaign. Their participation could draw eyeballs,” added Walawalkar.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) proposal for a complete clamp down on production of plastic bags is likely to add momentum to the campaign.

The civic body had banned plastic bags thinner than 50 microns post the 26/7 floods because plastic bags had choked many gutters.

Between April 2008 and October 2009, the BMC seized 19,400 kg of plastic bags thinner than 50 microns and collected Rs 98 lakh as fine.