Plastic finds its way into Lalbagh flower showWritten by Saahas
BBMP officials and citizen volunteers display the polypropylene bags seized from vendors at the Lalbagh Flower Show on Sunday.
But there have been definite improvements because of designated food zones and water dispensers, say activists
Despite the civic body’s efforts to ensure an eco-friendly Republic Day Flower Show at Lalbagh, it was unable to enforce the total ban on plastic. Several vendors continue to use non-woven polypropylene (NWPP) bags in violation of the rules.
Since the start of the show on January 18, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials have seized around 25 kg of polypropylene bags from vendors. On Sunday alone, 5 kg of these bags were confiscated.
Manoranjan Hegde, BBMP's Chief Health Officer, who headed the inspection team to Lalbagh on Sunday, said, “Vendors have been warned against the use of NWPP bags. The BBMP will start penalizing offenders from Monday. Most vendors know about the ban. When they see an inspection squad, they try to hide them.”
Civic officials as well as waste volunteers, however, said that the quantity of bags seized has gone down when compared with previous years. The BBMP officials have been video-graphing the inspections to keep a record of the seizures.
On Sunday, the flower show, which is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi to mark his 150th birth anniversary, saw 45,950 visitors.
Volunteers are also finding it hard to deal with unsegregated waste. Saahas, an NGO that has been assisting with waste management for the duration of the show, has been finding it difficult to deal with the huge amount of mixed waste being dumped in bins.
“We have color-coded 200 bins to differentiate between dry and wet waste. While some vendors have been cooperating and segregating waste, most of it is being mixed and dumped in the bins. Twenty volunteers from Saahas are working in two shifts to deal with the waste, which is segregated and sent to processing units,” said Rajalakshmi G., project coordinator, Saahas.
Improvement from previous years
Despite these issues, activists said that there have been definite improvements this year.
“We are happy that the Horticulture Department has finally color-coded dustbins and created food zones this year. We've been pushing for this since 2017 as these measures will help contain waste to specific areas and make clean-up easier. The department must also be lauded for setting an example by installing free water dispensers inside the gardens, encouraging people to bring their own water while banning single-use water bottles on the premises. This will have a huge impact on waste volumes,” said Odette Katrak, co-founder of Beautiful Bengaluru, a citizen initiative with a focus on reducing waste and litter, working with the Department of Horticulture.
To deal with the plastic and NWPP problems, they said officials should check what materials vendors are bringing in at the entrance and ensure that banned items don’t make it inside the venue.
Smitha Srinath, a member of Lalbagh West Volunteers' Group which is helping out during the show, said more awareness should be created among visitors as well. “Audio messages on the plastic ban and the need for segregation have been created by volunteers, and these can be handed over to the Horticulture Department. The department must ensure that the messages are played at regular intervals. This will have a greater impact on people,” she said.
Latest from Saahas
Leave a comment
Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.