Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, on the occasion of the World Environment Day, had announced the decision to ban the manufacture and use of plastic products in the state from January 1, 2019. But the students of Subbiah Vidyalayam Girls Higher Secondary School in Thoothukudi have shown the way and set an example for others. The schoolgirls have collected 20,244 wrappers of all the packaged food items that they had consumed in the last two weeks and sent it back to its manufacturers, as reported by The Times Of India.
The girls sent those wrappers to the respective manufacturers with a note which said, “We are happy with the taste and quality of your products, but unhappy with the plastic packaging. We want to ensure a safe environment for our future generations and minimise our plastic footprint. We have decided to collect used plastic wrappers of your products and send them to you for safe disposal. Please help us savour your products without guilt, by introducing eco-friendly packaging.”
It is an initiative introduced by the Tuticorin Corporation that intends to address the issue of packaged consumables with their manufacturing companies through schools.
Britannia tops the list
Out of the 20,244 wrappers collected, 10,660 wrappers belonged to one of India’s leading food companies Britannia. The second spot was occupied by Nabati (wafers) with 3,412 wrappers. As per reports, these wrappers were sent to their respective manufacturers through Tuticorin Corporation Commissioner Alby John Varghese.
Extending the practice to other corporations
Mr Varghese, in a letter to the companies, said that according to section 9 of the Plastic Waste Management Rule, 2016, producers, importers and brand owners are responsible for collecting plastic waste left by their products. The corporation has also asked companies to prepare an action plan to collect used wrappers and implement the same within two months.
“We will extend the practice to other corporation and private schools,” he said to The Times of India. He also said that this exercise by the students was a great success.
A plastic-free state
The Tamil Nadu government, in order to gift a plastic-free state for the future generations, has also announced the ban on the use of plastic items, including non-biodegradable bags from next year. However, plastic sachets used for packing milk, curd and oil, besides those used to wrap medical products, will be exempted.