Plastic ban and other key measures: Here’s what TN is doing to save the planet

TN government recently signed a MoU with a Switzerland-based company ICLEI to implement a climate change action plan in the state

The Tamil Nadu government has allocated ₹10 crore towards implementing the ban on plastics, which has been unsuccessful so far

Against the backdrop of the ongoing COP26 Summit in Glasgow, the DMK government seems to be proactively taking serious steps to contribute its share to mitigate the impact of climate change in Tamil Nadu.

While the Forest Department has embarked on an exercise to prevent the use of 14 types of plastics, the government recently signed a MoU with a Switzerland-based company ICLEI to implement a climate change action plan in the state.

The Switzerland envoy to India, Ralf Heckner, paid a visit to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin and discussed climate change issues. ICLEI is involved in providing consultation to the Tamil Nadu government on training and mitigation of problems on climate change, among others.

“The discussion between the Chief Minister and Heckner was on climate change, and after the discussion, a MoU was signed with ICLEI. As per the MoU, ICLEI will provide lessons on how to prevent pollution, train our officials and workers on climate change,” said a senior Forest Department official.

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“ICLEI works at multiple scales, building connections across local, regional, national and global actors and policies. We create systems change, developing integrated solutions along five interconnected development pathways that transform urban areas,” said the ICLEI website.

According to the website, ICLEI experts are “on the ground”, working alongside local and regional governments “to anticipate and respond to complex challenges”, from urbanisation and climate change to ecosystem degradation and inequity. “We invest in the capacity and knowledge needed to design solutions to these challenges and make decisions informed by data, scientific evidence and local realities and pressures,” the website further said.

“ICLEI forms strategic alliances with international organisations, national governments, academic and financial institutions, civil society and the private sector. We create space for innovation and lead our partners to build new ways to support sustainable development at the urban scale,” the website said.

Meanwhile, the state government is all set to give impetus to its campaign to prevent people from using 14 types of plastics.

“The CM will launch the campaign in the second week of this month by asking people to use cloth bags instead of plastic bags. It will be called the ‘yellow bag’ campaign. Forest department has taken steps to implement the plastic ban with a strategy, and work has started to create awareness among all stakeholders,” said the official.

“The government has allocated ₹10 crore towards implementing the ban on plastics, and the department officials are contacting local bodies to implement the ban. The money will be used to create awareness among people about the danger in using plastics,” said the official.

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Tamil Nadu government has imposed a ban on 14 types of plastic items, including one-time use of plastic bags and polythene covers, from January 2019. But the ban remained on paper, as use of plastic bags continued in almost all districts, except in Niligirs district.

“We have a proper strategy to implement the ban throughout the state. We have started visiting areas where such plastic items are used in large numbers and spoke to stakeholders about the danger for the environment due to the use of plastics,” said the official.

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