I visited Vandulur Zoo after nearly 3 years. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that the government was strictly enforcing Plastic Ban in Vandalur Zoo. The officials had setup a booth at the entrance of the park. All the visitor's bags are checked and their plastic covers/bags are taken out and trashed. Visitors were not allowed to carry plastic bags inside. You cannot even carry a unopened biscuit pack. They provide you with newspapers (free of cost) and cloth bags (for Rs.5 I guess!). You have to remove the wrappers of the biscuit pack and use newspapers to pack them. If you are carrying a plastic bag, you've to switch to a cloth bag. I'm sure this exercise will improve the awareness of plastic ban among our citizens. In addition, this exercise will also educate them about the harmful effects of using plastic in a zoo (including the death of rare/precious wild animals).
(Also read: Vandalur Zoo - Infrastructure is world class but people's behavior is still local class)
In addition, the government has setup a number of warning signs inside the Vandalur Zoo that educate the users about the plastic ban.
Despite all of the hard (& smart) work of our officials, I noticed some plastic covers/bottles inside the Vandalur Zoo. The restaurants set up inside the park sell snacks/cool drinks in plastic bags/containers, respectively. Our people just throw the plastic bags/containers on the road, after use - though there were a number of trash cans, dustbins available inside the park.
(Also read: 15 things that I liked about Vandalur Zoo)
Plastic ban is quite visible in our day to day life also.
- Chennai Metro is experimenting source segregation of wastes. You can separate plastics from other wastes and they'll be collected separately by the person who picks-up your trash.
- Shops are banned from using "low quality" plastic bags which cannot be recycled Several premium shops have switched over to "cloth" bags.
- Customers are encouraged to bring bags from their home. This will help in either re-using existing plastic bags/containers or in promoting the use of cloth bags.
- Customers have to pay the shop to get a plastic bag. It is not free of cost anymore.
Personally, I have done my best to bring down the use of plastic in our home. In fact, we started doing all of these things several years ago ! I told my parents that the use of plastic will result in "Cancer". That is the easiest way for me to enforce plastic ban at home :)
(Also read: A ban on spitting in public places - who enforces it?)
We did the following simple things:
- Switched from plastic water containers to a stainless steel water storage dispenser
- Installed a water purifying system at home, instead of buying can water
- Stopped using plastic plates, cups and bowls. Switched to glass or stainless steel utensils
- Switched from plastic water bottles to aluminium / stainless steel water bottles
- To the extent possible, we try to re-use/recycle plastic bags. We carry cloth bags to shops
Minimizing the use of plastic will not only help in saving the environment, but also helps in keeping the city clean. Whenever you go outside of your house, you can see lots of plastic bags/containers floating in the air and in the streets. When you get rid of plastics, you can also maintain a clean environment.
(Also read: If I don't care, who'll care)
My BIG THUMBS UP for plastic ban !