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Mumbaikars continue to use plastic bags despite ban

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 3, 2017, 2:19 am IST
Updated : May 3, 2017, 2:19 am IST

Mumbai daily generates 6,500 metric tonnes of garbage; a significant share of which contains plastic.

A clandestine supply of plastic carry bags from neighbouring cities has further added to the plastic menace in the city.
 A clandestine supply of plastic carry bags from neighbouring cities has further added to the plastic menace in the city.

Mumbai: The state government has imposed a ban on illegal plastic carry bags, but there is no stopping their use in the metropolis. With free availability of these bags nearly everywhere, people are continuing to use them, defeating the very purpose of the ban.

A clandestine supply of plastic carry bags from neighbouring cities has further added to the plastic menace in the city.

Mumbai daily generates 6,500 metric tonnes of garbage; a significant share of which contains plastic.

The clogging of drains due to plastic carry bags was one of the prime reasons for the 26/7 deluge in 2005, which brought the entire city to a standstill with over 1,000 people losing their lives. Soon after, plastic carry bags under 50 microns thickness and under 8x12 inches size were banned by the state government under the Maharashtra Non-biodegradable Garbage Control (MNBGC) Act.

The violation of this act invited a penalty of Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 for the first and second offence, respectively. Certain offences were liable for a fine of Rs 25,000 and imprisonment of three months.

Despite all this, the use of carry bags in the city has continued unabated. According to civic data, BMC in the last three years has registered 3,158 cases; seized 4,805 kg plastic; and levied a fine of Rs 1.50 crore on shopkeepers and hawkers for use of the banned plastic bags.

Civic officials blame the failure of the ban on clandestine supply of banned plastic carry bags from neighbouring cities.

A senior civic official said, “Despite the ban, carry bags continue to reach hawkers from neighbouring cities like Diu, Daman, Silvassa, Vasai, Dahanu etc. Authorities there should take action against the manufacturers to stop the supply. We have formed two squads to take action against the banned carry bags."

Ramkishor Sahu, a Dadar-based vendor said that hawkers kept plastic bags for fear of losing customers. “People insist on plastic bags. I have observed several times that customers refuse to buy when we say there are no bags,” he said.

Tags: plastic carry bags, bmc
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)