Although the entrance and exit aisles of the Mattuthavani Flower Market are filled with colorful sampangi, button roses and kanakambaram, the edges of the aisle are littered with used paper cups and aluminum foil.
Just behind the market, heaps of unseparated plastic and rotten flowers greet passers-by with a strong smell of stench.
Asked about this, a flower stall owner said that in a recent meeting held with the secretary of the agricultural marketing committee, V. Mercy Jayarani, they were asked to collect the waste generated daily by separating it into degradable and non-degradable items and handing them over. it’s up to the health workers.
“We have also been warned that strict action will be taken by the Company and a fine imposed if improper waste disposal continues,” the stand owner said.
“This order is taken seriously by all 104 stall owners, but I doubt the temporary vendors will,” she adds.
Ms Jayarani said this waste segregation plan came after discussions with the Madurai Corporation to find a better rationalization of periodic market clearance.
She adds that after many years, from January, the maintenance fee was increased to ₹625 per month from ₹225.
Speaking about the use of plastic bags, Ms Nagarani, who has been stringing flowers since the age of eight, says flowers will only stay fresh if wrapped in banned single-use plastic covers, especially garlands.
Flower Cord says cloth bags simply don’t work because they absorb the water content of the flower, causing wilting and reducing shelf life.
“How can we exclude the use of plastic bags, especially when selling flowers? We have yet to find a practical alternative sustainable solution,” said other flower stringers.