Financial Daily
from THE HINDU group of publications

Wednesday, June 13, 2001



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Coimbatore city turns eco-friendly

R. Y. Narayanan


IN a move that would please the non-smokers and environmental buffs, the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation (CMC) has decided to ban smoking in offices and public places under its control, making it probably the first civic body in the State to resort to s uch a move.

It has also decided to levy hefty penalty on those manufacturing, selling and using plastic bags up to a particular thickness and certain disposable plastic products in a bid to tackle the menace of widespread use of plastic bags which led to choking of drainage lines in this city and to preserve the city's aesthetic look.

It was Kerala which shot into limelight when smoking in public places was banned in that State, making it the first to do so in the country. The CMC, at its meeting on Monday, decided to ban smoking in the Corporation office premises in Town hall, its zo nal offices, health centres and other establishments, including parks and zoo. Every time an offender was caught, whether corporation employee or a visitor, he would have to cough up a fine of Rs 100.

It was on the use of plastic bags and disposable plastic products that the CMC decided to levy the harshest punishment. Already, the Corporation had announced a ban on use of plastic bags and disposable cups in its offices and establishments in the first phase of the drive against plastic. Now the civic body has opted for an absolute `no-no' to a range of disposable plastic products throughout the city.

While users of such products _ disposable plastic carry bags, plastic cups and tumblers, plastic plates and sheets etc in public or dumping it in public places would face a fine of Rs 100, it was the merchants and the vendors who would have to bear a hea vier burden. The producers of these plastic bags, disposable cups and plates and plastic sheets would be fined Rs 5,000, the wholesale dealers Rs 2,500 and retailers Rs 750 for each offence.

The resolution on this issue, besides highlighting the threat posed by the mountain of plastic being accumulated everyday in the city that choked sewerage lines, spoke of the threat posed to animals that consumed them.

The CMC's decision comes in the wake of a request made by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to the civic body to enforce a ban on use of certain plastic products. The Mayor, Mr V. Gopalakrishnan, also had earlier chaired a meeting of owners of marri age halls, cinema theatres and community halls when it was decided that they would insist on a ban on usage of disposable plastic products in their premises at the time of booking.

The CMC also decided to come down heavily on burning of garbage as a way to get rid of the mounting pile of trash.The CMC passed a resolution to slap a fine of Rs 1,000 for burning garbage in public places.

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