Plastic Free Market Initiative launched in New Town, Kolkata
Kolkata/IBNS: West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (WBHIDCO) and New Town Kolkata, Development Authority (NKDA) recently launched a Plastic Free Market Initiative, which they say is India’s first such project.
Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage (KSCH), a social enterprise, has received the mandate from the authorities to implement the pilot project in specific blocks, for two years.
With this initiative, WBHIDCO and New Town claim they will be able to reduce the usage of 168 kg of plastic per month that would help them cut down on carbon footprint.
The pilot project was inaugurated by Debashis Sen, IAS, Chairman, HIDCO and NKDA and Animesh Bhattacharya, CEO, NKDA.
Sourav Mukherjee, President of Kolkata Society For Cultural Heritage, was also present.
According to Debashis Sen, the pilot project initiated in the CB Market includes three drives simultaneously – solid waste segregation, plastic free CB market and COVID-19 related precautionary measures.
Sen said, “We had earlier also undertaken such drives but this pilot project covers 360 degree aspect and in that way it is the first of kind project in India. We are undertaking a home to home awareness drive and also supplying alternatives to plastic to shopkeepers.”
KSCH is committed to eradicate the use of plastic carry bags in CB Market.
They will distribute two cloth bags and biodegradable plastic packets derived from vegetable starch, initially to all families under the purview of the project.
Degradable plastic carry bags and plastic packets will be used by the residents to shop non vegetarian items.
KSCH will also distribute paper bags for grocery items and clay pots will be used for sweets.
Said Sourav Mukherjee, “Biodegradable plastics are plastics that can be decomposed by the action of living organisms, usually microbes, into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass. Biodegradable plastics are commonly produced with renewable raw material, micro-organisms, petrochemicals, or combinations of all three. We have done a long survey to find alternatives to plastic for this and zeroed in on vegetable starch plastic.”
These plastic alternatives are more expensive than ordinary plastic.
But the shop owners under this project will buy those options at the price they are paying now and the NKDA Smart City project will bear the additional cost as subsidy, the authorities said.
In the next two years, KSCH said it will pave the way for sustainability of this project.
Mukherjee said, “We will create awareness drives across blocks to motivate residents to use alternatives to plastic. We will also recognize those shop owners and residents using alternatives by presenting green badges and cutting cakes for them. Their photos will be incorporated in ‘Hall of Fame and their names will be announced on New Town Radio.”