Jamshedpur: When Mr Lalu Prasad, as Union Minister for Railways introduced the earthen teacup or kulhar or chooka on Rajdhani trains, several people scoffed. Now, you may soon be drinking tea out of chookas in your college canteen!
Acting on an advisory of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed all universities and higher education institutions across the country to ban the use of disposable plastic containers on campuses.
The initiative has been inspired by the theme of this year’s World Environment Day, ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
College authorities have been requested not to encourage the use of items like plastic cups, lunch packets, straws, bottles and plastic bags.”Ban takeaway coffee cups, lunch wrapped in disposable plastic packaging, plastic bags, disposable food service cups, plates, containers made of polystyrene foam and plastic straws. Restrict single-use plastic water bottle and encourage the use of reusable bottles instead,” the UGC said in a letter to vice-chancellors.
Colleges and universities have been directed to organise marathons, mass awareness sessions and cleanliness drives to spread the message.
Kolhan University pro vice-chancellor Ranjeet Kumar Singh said they had started promoting the use of leaf plates on the Chaibasa campus.
“This is a welcome step. We have already started using either ceramic or leaf plates and bowls. I learnt about the UGC circular and now we will ask other colleges to take similar steps,” said Singh
Vice-chancellor of Nilamber Pitamber University Satyendra Narayan Singh said he would meet with college principals to initiate green activities on campuses.
“Plastic cups for tea and coffee are a menace in college canteens and so we are thinking of introducing clay cups ( kulhar),” said Singh.
Karim City College in Sakchi initiated a no plastic campaign in February. “Our college campus is a no plastic zone. Students have put up posters across the campus to spread awareness on the subject,” said faculty member Yahiya Ibrahim.