Monday, November 17, 2008

Cloth bags replace plastic ones – Temple sets example!

Mangalore, INDIA: Devotees attending the 50-day “Akhanda bhajan” at Iddya Sri Mahalingeshwara temple at Surathkal near here are witness to a new beginning.

They are receiving prasad in cloth handbags instead of the ubiquitous plastic. The temple management is contemplating on shifting to non-plastic medium of disbursing “Prasad” to devotees permanently, preferably paper, once their plastic stockpile exhausts.

Cloth handbags have come in to vogue in schools in and around Surathkal, thanks to the initiative taken by Rotary Clubs of Surathkal, Mangalore Port Town, Mithra Mandali- Surathkal, Balakedarara Hitarakshana Vedike-Surathkal, and Honnakatte Friends Circle-Kulai. They jointly distributed 600 cloth bags to students of Sri Venkataramana Higher Primary School, Kulai, as part of a recent anti-plastic campaign.

Sathish Rao Iddya, former president of Rotary Club of Surathkal says: “We want to distribute 5,000 cloth handbags to students.” Poornima Rao, secretary of Mitra Mandali says: “It is easier to spread the message through students.”

These groups have appealed to the temples in and around Surathkal to stop using plastic to distribute prasad, Mr. Rao says. Initial setback apart, the Iddya temple’s move appears to be catching on. I. Ramananda Bhat, the managing trustee of the temple, says: “We will soon be deciding on how to phase out plastic.”

Mr. Rao says: “Usage of plastic can be stopped because they are not reusable. Cloth bags which cost around Rs. 6 apiece can carry items weighing up to five kg. Once this advantage of cloth bags catches the attention of people, they will stop using plastic carry bags.”

Ira, a village in Bantwal taluk, has gone one step ahead. Shops in Ira do not dispense products to customers in plastic carry bags. People there always carry cloth bags to buy anything.

Jaideep Shenoy


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