Ananthapuram, a small town located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, is struggling to implement a plastic ban despite its municipal corporation’s promises. In recent months, the town has been plagued by the rampant use of single-use plastic, with little to no action taken by the authorities.
Despite some small rallies, the Ananthapuram Municipal Corporation (AMC) has failed to take effective action against the use of single-use plastic. Instead of raiding single-use plastic stock points, the AMC has focused on small-time roadside vendors of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
The main dump yard in the town receives an average of more than 9,000 kilos of plastic, much of which is single-use. Cows in the town are dying after ingesting plastic, and at times, plastic is being burnt, releasing poisonous fumes that harm children and the elderly.
Social activists like Ananthapuram Anil Kumar who question the non-implementation of the ban are being threatened, and the negligence and epic failure of the AMC in controlling single-use plastic is bound to put Ananthapuram on the wall of shame as the single-use capital of India.
The neighboring municipal corporations have collected more than ten times the amount of plastic collected in Ananthapuram. The high corruption by some officials and politicians is killing the city with plastic. The environment section of the AMC, which is supposed to be controlling this, is least bothered, and the local pollution control board has not taken a single step in the last nine months since the plastic ban came into force.
It is not surprising that Ananthapuram has stood in the last three positions thrice in a row in the Swachh Bharat rankings. The failure of the AMC to enforce the plastic ban is contributing to the town’s pollution and environmental degradation.
The problem of single-use plastic is not unique to Ananthapuram. Across the country, millions of tons of plastic waste are generated every year, much of which ends up in landfills and oceans, causing harm to the environment and human health. India has taken several steps to curb the use of plastic, including a nationwide ban on single-use plastics, but the implementation of these measures has been patchy.
The situation in Ananthapuram underscores the need for more effective enforcement of plastic bans at the local level. Municipal corporations must take their responsibility seriously and take strict measures to control the use of single-use plastics. This includes targeting stock points and suppliers of single-use plastic, as well as enforcing penalties on violators of the ban.
The failure to control single-use plastic is not only an environmental issue but also a public health issue. The release of poisonous fumes during the burning of plastic can cause respiratory problems, especially in children and the elderly. The ingestion of plastic by cattle and other animals can cause blockages in the digestive tract, leading to death.
The AMC must take immediate action to control the use of single-use plastics in Ananthapuram. This includes launching awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of single-use plastics, enforcing penalties on violators of the ban, and raiding stock points and suppliers of single-use plastic.
If the AMC fails to take effective action, the situation in Ananthapuram is bound to worsen, leading to irreversible damage to the environment and public health. It is time for the authorities to take the issue of single-use plastic seriously and enforce the ban in letter and spirit. Only then can Ananthapuram hope to become a cleaner, healthier town
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