Say yes to films, no to plastic at IFFI this year

Panaji, Nov 20 (IANS) Watch movies but in an eco−friendly environment seems to be the IFFI motto this year with organisers banning the use of plastic glasses, cups, bottles and carry bags at the main venues in this coastal city.

This is the first time in the eight years that the International Film Festival of India has been held here that authorities have cracked down on plastic use.

Those running catering stalls at the venue of the 43rd IFFI during Nov 20−30, have been told to desist from using plastic.

"Our aim is to reduce plastic use by over 50 percent at the festival venue. If it can be done, it will work wonders for the mission of lessening the use of plastic throughout the state," said Sanjit Rodrigues, commissioner of the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP), the municipal authority of the host city.

Not just vendors but manufacturers of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) have also been roped into the no−plastic drive to make it more effective.

"We are banning the use of plastic glasses, cups, bottles and carry bags at the festival venue. They make up for most of the plastic waste, but we are making alternative arrangements for everything we are banning," Rodrigues told IANS.

To ensure there is no inconvenience to the vendors, he said, the city municipal corporation will make water available on site for washing purposes. And there are always traditional options like using a banana leaf or plates made from thatched leaves for serving meals.

"The only plastic we want to see is high−grade plastic which can be reused. Even manufacturers of packaged water and aerated drinks have been asked to sell their products in a two−litre package, which can then be doled out to customers in glasses in order to reduce wastage," Rodrigues said.

The Kingfisher stall is amongst the most sought after landmarks at the Inox multiplex courtyard, a major venue for the festival, for its cheap draught beer by the pint. The pint is poured from the dispenser into a one−time−use plastic glass, something which might just change this year.

"Would be great if they serve it in a glass mug. Draught beer in a tall plastic mug just does not make enough sense," said Ipshita Chatterjee, who has been a delegate at the festival for several years now.

IFFI this year will screen several score films, including 47 in the Indian premiere section and 15 in the international competition section.

The festival, which begins Tuesday, will also have a special homage section dedicated to legendary director Yash Chopra and late superstar Rajesh Khanna, both of whom died this year.

International film personalities like Claude Miller, Angelo Theopolous and Tony Scott will be accorded a homage too.

The festival begins Tuesday with the screening of "The Life of Pi", while the closing film will be "The Reluctant Fundamentalist".

About 12,000 delegates are expected to gather for the event in this coastal state, which last year welcomed 2.64 million tourists.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan.n@ians.in)

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