While the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given the Delhi government some time to come up with a phase-out plan for disposable plastic, a group of young nature activists have already come up with the solution to replace plastic with ‘cool bags’ (cotton cloth bags). The complete ban on all disposable plastic in the Capital, as ordered by the green court, is to set in from January 1, 2017.
The south Delhi-based group — New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS) — has been distributing these cotton bags to grocery shops and departmental stores to promote the concept. Also, they have tied up with city schools to create awareness regarding the issue.
“In a bid to assist people with the ban as well as to save the environment, the NDNS has come up with these biodegradable cloth bags. We have named them ‘cool bags’, because they are reusable, washable and cost just Rs 20,” said, Verhaen Khanna, 28, founder of the society. The group has procured 2,000 bags for the pilot project.
“The bags are being made by a group of women in a village on the outskirts of Delhi. It is a major source of livelihood for them,” Khanna said. His team has also tied up with the Meera Model School to distribute over 2,000 bags to students there.
“When children go to stationery, shopkeepers give them free plastic bags. These cool bags can be rolled up and easily stored in a handbag or a school bag or laptop bag and carried everwhere,” said Ashna Talwar, a volunteer in the campaign.
She said some shopkeepers and customers have given them a good response but the city needed to be more aware.
In 2012, the government had issued a notification prohibiting the sale, storage, manufacturing and transport of all kinds of plastic bags. The manufacturers, however, moved the High Court against the order soon afterwards.