The Telangana government on Wednesday issued guidelines banning single-use plastic in the offices of all urban local bodies and civic municipal bodies.
Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar issued a letter to this effect.
“The use of plastic in its various forms is everywhere in our daily life, little realizing that the use and convenience of these items come at a very high cost to the environment,” the letter states.
Pointing out that the planet cannot digest plastic, which takes around 500 to 1,000 years to completely degrade due to the presence of complex polymers, the letter points out that India generates around 56 lakh MTs of plastic waste annually.
“The usage in India is an estimated 12-14 kg per person per annum. You would have observed contents of the garbage whenever drain cleaning is taken up. It is mainly plastic in its various forms,” the letter said.
Stating that several cities and countries have enforced restrictions, the letter adds that India has also banned the use and sale of polythene bags which have a thickness of less than 50 microns, a rule also followed in Hyderabad.
“However, while it is easy to preach on a plastic ban, we in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have an additional responsibility of ensuring that we first adopt and implement what we wish others to do. The most imminent example is the use of plastic bottles in our offices and meetings. In any congregation, we end up using anywhere between 10 to 200 plastic water bottles and it’s a sheer waste. I must add that setting an example, the Minister for MAUD, KT Rama Rao, has already stopped using plastic bottles in his office,” Arvind Kumar said in the letter.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) discussed this issue in the review meeting held on June 12 wherein the Minister advised the department that they should set an example and stop using plastic items in their work, wherever possible.
“Furthermore, it is mandated that all offices follow the twin bin system and dispose of plastic waste strictly in compliance with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2000 and guidelines of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) towards plastic disposal,” the letter states.
“Respective HODs will also take up efforts to create awareness among all stakeholders on spreading knowledge about harm caused by single use plastic to the environment and promote sustainable environmental practices,” it added.