photo: Ashok Prabhakaran via flickr
Now this is really the spirit: The Tribune (Chandigarh, India) reports that Tirumala's Sri Venkateswara temple, the richest Hindu in the world with some 60,000 people visiting daily, will soon be a plastic-free zone, after the state government of Andhra Pradesh decided to ban the use of plastic products there. The plastic ban at the 1700-year old hill-top temple goes into effect in one month and will cover all plastic bags irrespective of size or thickness. In applications where plastic bags are currently used--distributing prasad (consecrated food) after services, for example--cloth, paper or jute bags will be used instead. The temple canteens at Sri Venkateswara and others managed by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams had already stopped using plastic cups for serving tea and water, replacing them with paper cups or reusable glasses.
The move accompanies one by the state government banning plastic bags below 40 microns thickness across the state, in the same time frame. Currently plastic bags below 20 microns are banned.
Pollution from plastic litter is a serious problem throughout India--someplace where for generations any disposable containers were biodegradable and tossed aside after use, a habit which doesn't work well with plastic. The state ban is an attempt, duplicated in a number of locations across the nation, to stem this tide of plastic pollution.
Presumably non-disposable plastics are still permitted--as TreeHugger has detailed on numerous occasions, truly living a plastic-free existence in 2010 in either the United States or India is a futile exercise, the substance being so fully integrated into every aspect of modern life.
Nevertheless, this move is decidedly positive and a welcome step towards transitioning towards more sensible use of plastic. Let's hope more Hindu temples, as well as centers of congregation for all the world's spiritual communities soon follow suit.
More on Plastic:
Australia Moves Slowly Closer to Complete Plastic Bag Ban
Prioritizing Plastics Key to Kicking Oil Addiction - Plus Reducing Waste & Pollution Plastic Pollution: The Cows Eat It Too
Plastic Gets There First - Surfing Legends Says They've Found Plastic Even On Remotest Beaches (Video)
As US Cities Waver on Plastic Bag Tax, China's Bag Ban Saved 1.6 Million Tons of Oil