Collector S. Natarajan has urged general public, traders, vendors and shopkeepers to totally avoid plastics, especially single use plastic carry bags, which posed threat to the environment. He also called upon people to avoid open defecation to maintain public health in the district.

Addressing a special gram sabha meeting at Sitharkottai village in Mandapam union on Wednesday, Mr. Natarajan said the special meet had been convened throughout the district to sensitise people on the harmful effects of plastic and make Ramanathapuram plastic-free, ahead of the State-wide ban on plastics coming into effect from January 1. The district administration had announced the ban on plastics from July 1, ahead of the State-wide ban. Plastic menace could be eradicated only if the traders, vendors, shopkeepers and consumers extended their total cooperation, he said.

While protecting the environment from pollution, the district administration was keen on maintaining public health, he said and called upon the people to use Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) instead of open defecation.

“Most of the 429 panchayats in the district have become open defecation free and we want the entire district to be freed from this scourge,” he said.

After Ramanathapuram was identified as one of the 117 aspirational districts in the country, the authorities had implemented Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (GSA) in 34 villages, which had maximum Dalit households and ensured that the villages were saturated in seven pro-poor centrally sponsored programmes. In the second phase, the GSA had been extended to 302 villages, which had a population of more than 1,000 people to achieve all-round development, he said.

Monitored by nodal officers from the Centre and State governments, the district administration was also focussed on financial inclusion programmes, offered skill development training for educated unemployed youth and Mudra loans to encourage small and micro enterprises, the Collector said and urged the people to participate in the programmes.

A. Chelladurai, Assistant Director of Panchayats, officials and village heads were present at the meeting.

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