A prototype of vending machine of manjapai, an eco-friendly cloth bag, is ready.
It can hold up to 40 bags at a time. When a user drops a ₹10 coin into a slot, they can get a bag. Environment, Climate Change and Forests Secretary Supriya Sahu said the machine was working well and that they planned to place such machines in market places and bus stops. “To begin with, it would be at Koyambedu [market]. The prototype for a machine that can hold 400 bags is under trial and will be ready in two weeks’ time,” she said.
In a tweet on Saturday, she said, “The Manjapai Vending Machine is finally here. It is a challenge to make cloth bags available in public places at an affordable cost. We are working to set up these machines at market places and bus stops. Prototype is ready and details will come soon.”
Ms. Sahu said it was a simple machine and small modifications had been done to get the bag out. “We have to tie up with someone to ensure constant supply of manjapai. It has been designed with inputs from Greater Chennai Corporation, the TNPCB and all of us in the team. The idea is to make eco-friendly cloth bags easily available. We don’t want to make it a permanent feature because we want people to carry their own bags,” she added.
Regarding the work done on banning plastics in the State, she said plastics cannot be eliminated overnight as it has been in use for decades. “From the time the ban was introduced in 2019 until now, 170 manufacturing units have been shut down. More recently, 1,700 tonnes of plastics have been seized by various local bodies and fines of ₹7 to ₹8 crore have been collected,” she said.
The government has been asking Collectors to encourage self-help group members to stitch bags and make eco-friendly alternatives for packaging, she said.