An awareness campaign was carried out to make Berhampur in Odisha polythene and open defecation free (ODF) under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
School and college students along with government officials and campaigners participated in the special rallies organised by Ganjam district administration at different places in the city.
The rallies were followed by a public discussion on implementation of polythene/plastic ban and eradication of open defecation under Berhampur Municipal Corporation.
Higher education minister Pradeep Panigrahy, MLA (Berhampur) R C Chyaupatnaik, collector (Ganjam) P C Chaudhary and city mayor K Madhavi appealed to the public to avoid the use of polythene and plastic and make the Silk City ODF.
Last week, the administration collected Rs. 18,000 fine from vendors and traders for using polythene.
“We have decided to strictly implement the ban on polythene and plastic,” said the collector.
“We appeal to all individuals to improve the sanitation status of the city. Open defecation not only leads to groundwater pollution but also spreads waterborne diseases,” said the minister.
The special campaign was carried against the backdrop of the tardy progress of construction of individual household latrines under the corporation limits. While the government has set a target for the corporation to construct 9,427 household latrines in the city in 2016-17, only eight such toilets have been completed so far.
“We received 3,500 applications for the construction of household latrines in the city. Of these, the work order was issued to 1,125 persons,” said an officer of the corporation.
Besides, the corporation has constructed six toilet complexes, he said.
Hybrid toilet complexes having 505 seats will be set up in the city under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation Yojana by the end of March 2017, officials said.