Waste generated by roadside eateries has been reduced by 50% after the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) directed hawkers and gadda owners in the city to use either steel or biodegradable plates.
Panaji mayor Vaidehi Naik told TOI that CCP issued the guidelines to be implemented from November 20. CCP sources said that with over a week of implementing the new guidelines, waste from gaddas has been reduced by half.
Other than food stalls set up for the international film festival of India (Iffi), there are about 20 bhel puri gaddas at Miramar beach and another 30 roadside eateries all over the city.
The decision has been welcomed by people frequenting gaddas. Porvorim resident Isle Fernandes, 30, said, "It came as a surprise to be served in steel plates and be given steel spoons. Cutting down on the use of paper plates will probably save many trees. I was quite happy to see steel spoons as use of plastic spoons generated garbage. The only thing we are unaware of is whether the gaddas are washing these steel plates and spoons properly."
A group of tourists munching 'sev puri' also expressed their agreement when told about the change. "Garbage needs to be reduced. The only issue is of hygiene. There is a possibility of falling sick," Bangalore resident Shashidhar Battu, 23, said. "Unless the customer can see that the plates are clean," added Srinath, 26, also from Bangalore.
Dipika Sivaguru, 26, said that eating from steel plates gave her the feeling of eating at home. "I don't mind eating from steel plates. It gives one a homey feeling. In some malls in Bangalore, they have a common washing system for plates used in all outlets in the mall's premises. I don't know if the same could be adapted here," she said.
Those who run the gaddas have met the situation by bringing a large number of steel plates to serve customers daily. "We wash the steel plates at home. As a result, each gadda here brings between 200-300 steel plates daily. We may have to increase the number to 400 plates during the peak season in December. We are happy with the decision as it has reduced garbage," said Rajesh, who runs a gadda at Miramar.
CCP sources said that the gaddas generated between 100 kg to 150 kg garbage in terms of paper plates and cups. The problem was that no recycling agent collected the plates as they were soiled. CCP held a meeting with gadda owners explaining the problems associated with using paper plates. Gadda owners readily agreed to comply with the new directions. They are now using either steel plates or those made of leaves. The leaf plates go directly into composting bins, while steel plates are washed and reused, sources said.
This is part of CCP's initiative to reduce garbage by eliminating it at source. CCP is appreciative that gadda owners have cooperated. The corporation will monitor the gaddas and confiscate any paper or plastic plates, cups or spoons, and impose a fine on the offender, sources said. [TOI]