The Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) announced a ban on the use of single-use plastic in the Visakhapatnam Agency from mid-April.
From the first week of April, the ITDA will hold a week or ten day coordination meeting with the Sarpanches, Panchayat Secretaries, Village Revenue Officers (VROs) and tourism agencies in the agency’s areas and discuss the implementation of the action plan on site. After the meetings, officials will begin enforcing the ban.
In 2019, the ITDA announced a ban on the use of single-use plastics in the Araku mandal, which receives a large portion of the tourists. Despite the awareness raising, the plan failed to produce the desired results due to the full electoral schedule and other reasons. This time, the ITDA officials have planned to enforce the ban in all eleven mandals of the agency.
“There are 244 panchayats in the agency’s 11 mandals. We expect all Sarpanches to make their efforts to combat the plastic threat. We will seek input from the Sarpanches, VROs and Panchayat officials before we implement the action plan, ”said ITDA project leader S. Venkateswar.
There are plans to stop selling and using plastic bags, bottles and other plastic shapes at the agency, for which ITDA will hold talks with retailers, tourism agencies and small business owners. Alternative arrangements such as paper bags with the support of NGOs are also planned. Another focus is the weekly shandies, where the ban must be strictly enforced, he said. After raising awareness of the plastic ban, officials are proposing fines of up to £ 10,000 should be imposed on the violations.
Officials have planned to procure two-color garbage cans for wet and dry garbage for villages. Rubbish bins every 50 meters go a long way towards avoiding waste. “With the grants from the 15th Finance Commission, plans to acquire rubbish bins are underway. The estimates are being prepared. Once the MPTC and ZPTC elections are over, the ITDA will run calls for tenders. In the subsequent phases, the waste is disposed of using SWM (Solid Waste Management) techniques, ”said the ITDA PO.
ITDA also plans to post warning signs against litter and the use of plastic at tourist attractions. The Sarpanches can take initiatives in their villages in this regard. “If necessary, we can fine tourists for rubbish and plastic,” Venkateswar said.