With the ban on plastic bottles coming into force since the beginning of the month, merchants across the Nilgiris have abided by the new rules, and have stopped the sale of bottled water and soft drinks.
J. Ravi Kumar, secretary of the Ooty Municipal Market Merchants Association, said though initially the plan was to ban the sale of bottled water and soft drinks in shops located along the highways, the ban was extended to cover the entire district, with merchants being told to stop the sale of any items packaged in plastic bottles.
“Of course, business has been hit as people are still acclimatising to the changes,” said Mr. Ravi Kumar, who added that soft drinks were only being sold in tin cans and glass bottles at shops across the district, while the sale of water bottles had almost completely ceased in the Nilgiris.
While 70 water ATMs have been installed across the Nilgiris to quench visitors’ thirst, the Udhagamandalam Municipality has also been given four plastic crushing machines, which are installed in four locations in Udhagamandalam town, to crush plastic bottles so they can be easily transported and recycled.
“We plan to install four more across Udhagamandalam town, but have started with four, installed at key locations frequented by tourists such as the Ooty Bus Stand and the Government Botanical Garden,” an official said.
Meanwhile, teams have been formed by the district administration to check whether the ban on plastic bottles is being abided to by merchants and businesses across the district.