Munnar: The district collector has banned plastic at tourism hotspots Munnar and Elappara panchayats in Kerala’s Idukki district from October 1.
From now on, the manufacture, collection, distribution, sale and usage of plastic would not be allowed in these areas. The collector's order instructs the people, who have plastic, to hand it over to the panchayat. The police, pollution control board, local bodies, revenue, health and forest departments have been asked to take action against the violators.
A ban on plastic, with less than 30 microns, has been effective in Munnar panchayat for the past 10 years. However, the ban remains on paper with plastic being widely used by people, including shops and other business establishments.
The alleged laxity from the part of the grama panchayat to effectively implement the ban has resulted in the widespread use of plastic. After the massive floods of August 2018, tonnes of plastic waste had to be removed from the Muthirapuzha in Munnar. Again, after this year's floods too, huge quantities of plastic were deposited in the river. Most of this garbage was removed last week by a team led by the Kanan Devan company.
Even at other touristic places such as Mattupetty, Kundala and Rajamala regions, plastic is acting as the villain. Plastic used to wrap food/water contributes much to the garbage. Along with the ban, authorities have to ensure that the tourists do not take plastic to Munnar.