Anganwadis are meant for children. But in Dakshina Kannada, they will soon turn into a plastic dump yard, thanks to the Zilla Panchayat. The ZP has issued a circular asking people to bring their plastic waste to the anganwadis in their locality where the plastic would be segregated on the second Saturday of every month, reports Kannada Prabha.

Concerned over the growing plastic waste in the district, the Zilla Panchayat decided to segregate the plastic waste at its 2,004 anganwadi centres. As a result it has ordered 230 gram panchayat units to collect the plastic waste and segregate it at the anganwadi centres once in a month. But this has irked the anganwadi centres who call the decision an utter rubbish.

In fact, it has been quite some time since the ZP had issued the circular to collect and segregate plastic waste at the anganwadi centres. While only a handful of gram panchayats implemented the order, the lack of participation by at least 90 per cent of the gram panchayats through anganwadis has upset the Zilla Panchayat. The ZP feels that this has discouraged its effort to contain plastic menace.

"We have no place to keep the stock of nutrition food packets - that are supplied by the government - at the anganwadi centres. Where do we have the space to keep the plastic waste," shot back an anganwadi worker, reports Kannada Prabha.

When most of the angawadis are finding it difficult to keep the children either because of lack of space or competition in the face of growing number of Montessoris, the decision of the ZP has come as a rude shock for the anganwadis. Moreover, stocking plastic waste in the anganwadis certainly exposes the children there to a lot of health hazards.It certainly is a bizarre decision taken by the Zilla Panchayat.

"Anganwadis are not dumpling yards. We have already appealed the ZP not to use anganwadis to stock up plastic waste. Even anganwadi workers too have been urged to stay away from collecting plastic wastes in their centres," said Vishalakshi, president of Dakshina Kannada Anganwadi Workers and Assistants' Association.

To collect and segregate plastic waste, the ZP has built plastic soudha at many gram panchayat centres. The ZP should utilise that instead of targeting anganwadis, suggests Vishalakshi.