Artists Donate Work To PondyCAN

“You and Me”

Artists Asma Menon and Olaf van Cleef created an art work titled “You and Me,” currently on view at the Taj Coromandal in Chennai.  This Hindu Businessline article, When Chocolate Met Crystal, gives more details on the artwork and the collaboration between Menon and van Cleef.  Proceeds from the sale of the work will go to Pondy Citizen’s Action Network (PondyCAN).   Thank you to both for their generous donation!


New Plastic Waste Handling and Management Rules (2011)

The following Press Note was released by the Ministry of Environment and Forest on 7 February 2011:


Press Note

February 7th, 2011: The Ministry of Environment and Forests has today notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 to replace the earlier Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999 (amended in 2003). These Rules have been brought out following detailed discussions and consultations with a wide spectrum of stakeholders including civil society, industry bodies, relevant Central Government Ministries and State Governments.

Releasing the Rules the Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh said “It is impractical and undesirable to impose a blanket ban on the use of plastic all over the country. The real challenge is to improve municipal solid waste management systems. In addition to the privatization and mechanisation of the municipal solid waste management systems we must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the lakhs of people involved in the informal sector”

[I] Salient Features
Some of the salient features of the new Rules are:-
. Use of plastic materials in sachets for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala has been banned.
. Under the new Rules, foodstuffs will not be allowed to be packed in recycled plastics or compostable plastics.
. Recycled carry bags shall conform to specific BIS standards.
. Plastic carry bags shall either be white or only with those pigments and colourants which are in conformity with the bar prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). This shall apply expressly for pigments and colourants to be used in plastic products which come in contact with foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water.
. Plastic carry bags shall not be less than 40 microns in thickness. Under the earlier Rules, the minimum thickness was 20 microns. Several State Governments in the meanwhile, had stipulated varying minimum thickness. It is now expected that 40 microns norms will become the uniform standard to be followed across the country.
. The minimum size (of 8×12 inches) for the plastic carry bags prescribed under the earlier Rules has been dispensed with.
. Carry bags can be made from compostable plastics provided they conform to BIS standards.

One of the major provisions under the new Rules is the explicit recognition of the role of waste pickers. The new Rules require the municipal authority to constructively engage agencies or groups working in waste management including these waste pickers. This is the very first time that such a special dispensation has been made.

[II] Role of Implementing Authority
The Municipal authority shall be responsible for setting up, operationalization and coordination of the waste management system and for performing the associated functions, namely;
. To ensure safe collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste;
. To ensure that no damage is caused to the environment during this process;
. To ensure setting up of collection centres for plastic waste involving manufacturers;
. To ensure its channelization to recyclers;
. To create awareness among all stakeholders about their responsibilities;
. To ensure that open burning of plastic waste is not permitted.

[III] Additional Safeguards
. No carry bags shall be made available free of cost to consumers. The municipal authority may determine the minimum price for plastic carry bags.
. The municipal authority may also direct the manufacturers to establish plastic waste collection centres, either collectively or individually, in line with the principle of
‘Extended Producers Responsibility’.
. The new Rules have stipulated provisions for marking or labeling to indicate name, registration number of the manufacturer, thickness and also to indicate whether they
are recycled or compostable.

A link to the MOEF notification, dated 4 February 2011, can be found here.

“Do Nothing” Video

This short, two-minute video – “Do Nothing” – offers a humorous view for community engagement while serving as a point of discussion for students and youth to take up responsible action in Pondicherry.

Get involved!

Awareness Campaign on Thin Plastics Ban

Adirai Addresses Gathering

Plastics Ban Awareness Campaign

As enforcement approaches, the Pondicherry government initiated an awareness campaign for its planned ban on the usage of thin plastics (below 50 microns).  The event was led by the Pondicherry Pollution Control Committee with the Department of Science, Technology and Environment.  Invitees reached over 1000 persons in a packed conference hall including students, teachers and concerned citizens all listening intently to government officials in their attempt for environmental improvement and change.

Initiating the program was a young 7th standard JNV student (Adirai) taking the stage. Her poetic recital on climate change, environmental destruction and plastics enthralled the audience; she left the stage to a standing ovation.  It was a speech indicating the necessity for immediate action, and its importance for her and the future generation.  With weeks remaining on the subsequent ban, awareness needs to be spread across Pondicherry to ensure effective, adequate compliance.

By Sashti Balu

Ban on Plastic Bags, Cups and Plates Under 50 microns

On 9 December 2009, the Government of Puducherry (GOP) issued a notification banning polythene or plastic bags and disposable cups and plates under 50 microns in thickness.  The partial text of the notification reads:

…no person including a shopkeeper, vendor, wholesaler, retailer or trader shall use, sell or store polythene or plastic carry bags of thickness 50 microns or below, of size less than 8 x 12 inches, disposable cups and plates of thickness of 50 microns or below whatsoever, for supply of goods in the Union Territory of Puducherry.

The other plastic carry bags, disposable cups and plates apart from the category mentioned above manufactured, used, sold or stored in the Union Territory of Puducherry shall contain the name of the manufacturing unit, address, thickness and size of the product printed on it.

Let us hope that the Puducherry Pollution Control Committee (PPCC), which is in charge of implementing this notification, is successful in working with the various stakeholders to create awareness and put in place a monitoring system.

PondyCAN Press Release on World Oceans Day – June 8, 2009

World Oceans Day Image.Web Small.090606

The concept for World Oceans Day was proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and it had been unofficially celebrated every year since then. Official designation by the U.N. is a significant step in conserving and protecting our world’s ocean.

World Oceans Day provides an opportunity each year to celebrate our world oceans and our personal connection to the sea.

As of 2009, “World Oceans Day” has been officially declared by the United Nations as June 8th each year!

The world’s oceans:

  • Generates most of the oxygen we breathe
  • Helps feed us
  • Regulates our climate
  • Cleans the water we drink
  • Offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines
  • Provides limitless inspiration!

One of PondyCAN’s initial initiative has been to bring back the beach along the Pondicherry coast, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. This initiative is now expanding its scope to safeguarding the coast of the whole country. It is therefore only natural that we are engaged in the celebrations of the World Oceans Day.

We hope you will join us in the pledges we will take on this day.

Best regards
from the PondyCAN team


June 8, 2009

PondyCAN is proud to join leading educational institutions, conservation organizations, and  individuals in dozens of countries around the world to celebrate our shared oceans.  World Oceans Day – held on June 8 of each year – is an opportunity to celebrate our world oceans and our personal connection to the sea.

The Ocean Project, an international network of over 830 aquariums, zoos, museums, and conservation organizations is working closely with the World Ocean Network to coordinate activities worldwide under the theme “helping our climate – helping our ocean” with a special focus on coral reefs.

The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and the rich web of life they support is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Nomadic peoples were collecting shellfish and harvesting fish long before the dawn of settled agriculture. Great human civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Polynesians relied on the sea for commerce and transport. In our immediate region, the great Cholas were able to spread their empire across much of the Far East by their close relationship with the sea. Now, at the end of the Twentieth Century, our fate is as tied to the oceans as ever. We still rely on fish for a significant portion of our daily protein needs, and more than $500 billion of the world’s economy is tied to ocean-based industries such as coastal tourism and shipping. Perhaps most important, this vast mass of water acts to help regulate the global climate and to ensure that a constant flow of vital nutrients is cycled throughout the biosphere.

But all is not well in the sea. Increased pressures from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species have combined in recent decades to threaten the diversity of life in estuaries, coastal waters and oceans. Now a new threat, global warming, is making itself felt, and its impacts could be devastating for life in the sea. In addition to this, in our country, man-made beach erosion due to thoughtless planning and improper implementation is causing the sea, our friend, to become our enemy, lashing hard at our villages and towns and cities, turning our water saline and leaving us vulnerable to its waves and storms. And we blame the sea, our friend, instead of opening our eyes and seeing that it is we, through our careless actions, that are responsible.

Let us take a pledge:

  • Never to distress the sea by taking away its beaches and in turn making ourselves vulnerable to the effects of beach-erosion
  • That any development on the coast is done only after scientific studies determine it is alright
  • That we cannot allow poisoning our own food by indiscriminately putting un-treated sewage and harmful chemical effluents into the sea
  • That we understand that anything we do to harm the sea and oceans in turn harms us and
  • Anything we do to protect and sea and oceans keeps us healthy and safe.

65 years and 2 days ago, the bravery and selflessness of a few was able to change the course of a century. More than a 1000 crafts came in from the sea, bringing 160,000 allied troops to land on the beaches of Normandy. That decisive moment and act of immense bravery led to the victory of the allied forces over the Nazis. It is remembered and revered and commemorated every year because it was a victory won against all odds.

If everyone on the planet took a pledge to live in harmony and peace not only with each other but with everything else on this beautiful blue planet of ours and beyond, we can rest assured of the victory  –  the survival of our species.

So from PondyCAN to all of Pondicherry, India and the rest of world:

Think about this and do what you can.

And as Ocean Project urges: Wear Blue and Tell Two

35 Francois Martin Street
Pondicherry 605 012

Street Lights in Pondicherry

For purposes of the management and maintenance of street lights in Pondicherry, the town is divided into five sectors, four under the responsibility of  Electricity Department and one under the Public Works Department (PWD).
Under the Electricity department:
  1. North
  2. Central
  3. South Central
  4. South
Under PWD

Gingee Salai

Ambour Salai

Beach road
The responsible government officials for the sectors are:
Junior Engineer – Saravanan
Phone no. – 0413 2336327
Total number of street lights: 650 (Mostly Sodium but also Tube lights)
Power consumption:  Sodium – 250 Watts; Tube lights – 40 Watts
Street lights are controlled by automatic timer. At an average there are 25 street lights per timer.
PondyCAN has asked Saravanan to set the timers so that lights are switched off at 5.30 in the morning and come on at 6.30 pm. He has agreed to do it in a phased manner.
The North sector begins from Perumal Koil and ends somewhere in VOC Nagar. Once we get details and maps of the other sectors, we will update this post.
Junior Engineer –  Sitaraman
Phone no: 0413 2336327
Details to follow…
South Central:
Junior Engineer – Tilakaraj
Junior Engineer – Ravichandran
The Superintendent Engineer directly above these four Junior Engineers: Anandakrishnan
Assistant Engineer – Jnanashekaran
Concerned citizens may get in touch with the responsible engineers in their neighborhood should they see any problems with street lights (non-functioning, on at the wrong times, etc.).  Should anyone have additional information, please share it with this forum.