Bengaluru: To curb the plastic menace, the BBMP on September 7 had directed all wedding and function halls to create a bank of steel or ceramic plates, steel cups and spoons. While people have welcomed it, the idea of replacing the traditional plantain leaf with steel or the ceramic plates has not gone down well. Even solid waste management activists said that the attempt to replace the eco-friendly plantain leaf is unwarranted.
A representative of a wedding hall on West of Chord Road said, “A marriage is considered complete only when the food is served on a plantain leaf. Even we have concerns for the environment and have already done away with the use of plastic sheets, carry bags, cups and spoons. But asking us to completely switch to steel plates is not acceptable. Lives of many plantain leaf farmers and traders will be severely affected because of this.”
Solid waste management expert Ram Prasad said, “The very argument of the BBMP that processing plantain leaves is difficult is not acceptable. We understand that arecanut leaves take at least a year to decompose. It adds to the wet waste, but plantain leaf decomposes in a month and is a good compost for farmers. It is a tradition that we have been following for long. Nowhere in the world is there a culture and tradition of serving food on a plantain leaf. We see this only in our country and that too in the South.”
He said that the BBMP's decision to replace plantain leaves with steel plates should be condemned as this will eliminate this unique culture.
He said, “The plastic ban is slowly bringing back the good old days of plantain leaves at hotels. The thin plastic sheet used on the plates and for parcels is getting replaced by plantain leaves. When such is the case, the move to ask wedding halls to stack up steel plates is not acceptable.”
Solid waste management expert Ramakanth said that if plantain leaves are used, they have to be processed the right way. “At wedding halls, workers quickly wrap all the plantain leaves in the paper put over the table. It directly goes into the bins and then to vendors who dump it in empty plots and burn it. Earlier, the plantain leaves were dumped in pits to turn them into compost,” he said.
“In association with the BBMP, I am willing to train wedding halls on how to dispose of plantain leaves properly, if the wedding halls really want to use them,” he said.
Mayor Sampath Raj said, “We have given the option to the wedding halls. They can choose either the plantain leaves or steel plates."
Will steel plates be hygienic?
Solid management expert Mr Ramakanth said that steel plates will be completely hygienic if wedding halls use dishwashers. “They cost of Rs 30,000 and are completely hygienic. The cleaned plates have to be wiped properly. They can also use completely natural cleaning liquids. You don’t need thousands of plates as limited ones can be used on rotation,” he said.