DRDO develops biodegradable bags for sale of Tirumala laddus
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Tirumala : The Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple in Andhra Pradesh has taken a prime initiative towards a green future. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the temple, has teamed up with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop biodegradable bags which will be used to sell the mahaprasadam laddu, officials said. A dedicated sale counter has been set up by the TTD near the laddu counters adjacent to the Tirumala temple where the devotees can first buy these bags before heading to counters to buy the prasadam.
Detailing about the initiative, DRDO chairman Satish Reddy said, “Our Advance Systems Laboratory in Hyderabad has been doing a lot of research and inventing ways to find the best environmental friendly replacement for hazardous plastic. To minimise single-use plastic, we have come out with these eco-friendly bags made of starch corn which degrades naturally within 90 days. It is also not harmful even if cattle consume them. After detailed research and rigorous testing of the formula, we have come out with these bags for Tirumala.”
It is a significant move by the TTD to shift to biodegradable bags. The body was one of the biggest distributors of single-use plastic covers before 2019. In the period between 2014 and 2018, TTD procured and distributed 9.63 crore polythene laddu covers to the devotees.
The new TTD board under the chairmanship of YV Subba Reddy realised that the trust would be causing severe damage to the environment if it continued to promote the use of polythene laddu covers. A blanket ban on the use of single-use plastic covers was imposed in 2019 post which a tie-up was announced with the DRDO.
Talking about the harmful effects of polythene bags, Satish Reddy, said, “Usually conventional polyethene bags made from petrochemicals are toxic to the environment and take nearly 200 years to degrade. In contrast, these bags would be offered as a sustainable, cost-effective and ocean-safe alternative to such plastic products.”