Visakhapatnam, 31st January 2024: Despite the ongoing Eco-Vizag campaign by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) to combat plastic pollution, residents continue to grapple with extensive plastic usage, citing serious concerns. The campaign, aimed at curbing the harmful effects of plastic, faces hurdles, particularly due to the rampant use of plastic in flexes and hoardings by political parties, exacerbating the city’s environmental woes despite the imposed ban.
While the GVMC asserts intensified efforts in combating plastic pollution, residents highlight persistent challenges, indicating a gap between aspirations and outcomes. Private malls have responded positively by offering cloth and paper bags to customers, presenting eco-friendly alternatives. However, these alternatives, though commendable, lack the durability and capacity of traditional plastic bags.
Last year, GVMC conducted 6850 raids against plastic bag usage, imposing fines ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 25,000 for violations. Additionally, an average of 34.8 tonnes of plastic waste is collected daily from the city streets and households, emphasizing the magnitude of the issue.
Chief Medical Officer of GVMC, Naresh Kumar, assured citizens of intensified efforts in the anti-plastic campaign. Special enforcement teams, along with daily inspections by ward secretaries and special inspectors, are deployed to ensure strict compliance and eradicate single-use plastic. GVMC also conducts Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities across all wards to raise awareness about the harmful impacts of banned single-use plastic.
To promote sustainable alternatives, the municipality has introduced initiatives like the cloth bag challenge and steel box challenge, encouraging residents to adopt eco-friendly practices.
Despite these measures, the persistence of plastic usage, particularly in political advertising materials, underscores the challenges in achieving the desired results of the anti-plastic campaign. Residents and authorities alike emphasize the need for collective action and sustained efforts to address plastic pollution effectively in Visakhapatnam.