Daily Reflections

Plastic Use Reducing across India


When I heard the news that plastic bags and one-time use plastic is being banned in TamilNadu, I didn’t believe it at all. I have been in Chennai frequently since 2015 and have seen the rampant use of plastic bags – every store I went to would first reach for a plastic bag and then start the billing and I would tell them not to use any plastic bag as I had brought my own cloth bag. I had long discussions and explained the problems with plastic bags to several store owners much to Krishnan’s amusement.

So last month when we went to Chennai and Tirunelveli I was wondering how the ban was working and  whether restaurant food/water etc would be packed in they would be in plastic bags/bottles. I was in for a pleasant surprise. We bought food for the train trip at the Adyar Anand Bhavan outlet outside the Egmore station – it was handed over in a cloth bag and the food was wrapped in banana leaf and paper outside !! Then on every platform there are water vending machines, that fill a litre of water in your bottle for just Rs. 8 – you can buy their bottle and water there for Rs. 12. I also saw several people filling water in their own bottles. The picture of the water vending machine below is from the Tirunelveli station. It was out of order that day but it does appear to be functioning well in most railway stations.

Then we bought some sweets and other snacks at Laxmi Vilas in Tirunelveli and they came packed in “plastic-like” biodegradable bags. I had seen similar bags being used by other sweet shops in Coimbatore as well which means this is here to stay.

On Feb 26th we started our drive to Pune from Gurgaon and stopped at Haldirams on the way. Again, we were in for a pleasant surprise. We had stopped at the same Haldirams outlet when Subbu and his family had visited us and we all went to Jaipur. Everything then was served in plastic plates, and tea was given in plastic cups. This time, food was being served on paper plates and tea was being served in a “kulhad” (earthenware).

Kulhad for tea and paper plates for food at Haldirams

They are still using plastic spoons and some small plastic containers but atleast the plates have changed and hopefully soon the spoons will also change to some bio-degradable material.

I feel good that everywhere there is awareness about not using plastic and efforts are being made to substitute with Earth friendly products. We as a country have always been a “green” country in the past – we ate on “leaf” plates and used stainless steel or earthenware cups for tea and coffee, and repaired every appliance. In the interim we have shifted to a plastic world and started using loads of plastic containers, plates, cups and most importantly bags. Now the shift back is happening and thats good news. The garbage mountains will soon reduce and hopefully we also make appliances that last a lifetime.

“Abhinandan” to my fellow countrymen and women on moving towards this direction … and yes am also thinking of Wing Commander Abhinandan. So glad to have him back !!

p.s – Plastic use also hasn’t been reduced just by chance – the Modi government has to be credited with bringing in awareness about single use plastic and its commitment to reducing or eliminating single use plastic. So vote Mr. Modi back in 2019 ! #Votewisely #PhirEkbaarModiSarkar

Jai Hind. 

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2 replies »

  1. This is one of the biggest changes I noticed on this last trip: everywhere I went there was an absence of plastic bags and straws. And, contrary to what many in our country assert will happen if we do that, the world did not come to an end.

    I hope we catch up soon.

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