BMC walks the plas­tic talk, will step up ac­tion against ven­dors

300 civic in­spec­tors to eye rly sta­tions, mar­kets; tar­get one­time use plas­tic items

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Sa­gar Pil­lai

MUM­BAI: Af­ter draw­ing crit­i­cism for poor im­ple­men­ta­tion of the plas­tic ban, the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) has de­cided to crack the whip and step up ac­tion on the sale and use of plas­tic af­ter Di­wali. The civic body has de­cided to change its pro­ce­dure and de­ploy teams at crowded places such as sta­tions and mar­kets to in­crease the ef­fi­cacy of its vig­i­lance and ac­tion. So far, the BMC has col­lected ₹1.37 crore in fines from vi­o­la­tors.

The BMC al­ready has a team of ap­prox­i­mately 300 in­spec­tors who are de­ployed across 24 wards. They are as­signed to take ac­tion on dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of banned plas­tic.

Par­tic­u­larly in fo­cus are sin­gle-use plas­tic items like carry bags and dis­pos­able cut­lery, which in­spec­tors will con­fis­cate upon de­tec­tion. The BMC has di­rected in­spec­tors to not put pressure on cit­i­zens since the fo­cus of ac­tion are shop­keep­ers and other retailers who are re­quired to pay fines.

In this way, the BMC hopes that both the in­spec­tors and those who are tar­geted by the in­spec­tors will spread aware­ness of the ill ef­fects of plas­tics. Deputy mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Vi­jay Balam­var said, “We have asked the in­spec­tors to visit shops at places with a larger foot­fall. We are stepping-up the ac­tion taken on of­fend­ers.”

The fine for us­age of banned plas­tic ranges from ₹5,000 and ₹25,000, and also at­tracts a three­month jail pe­riod. Be­tween June 23 and Oc­to­ber 20 this year, the BMC pe­nalised nearly 3,000 es­tab­lish­ments.

On March 23, the govern­ment is­sued a no­ti­fi­ca­tion that banned the man­u­fac­ture, use, sale and dis­tri­bu­tion of all sin­gle-use plas­tic items such as bags, spoons, plates, bot­tles, and ther­mo­col items. The ban came into ef­fect from June 23.

Al­though the ban doesn’t al­low cit­i­zens to carry plas­tic and ther­mo­col items, the BMC has cho­sen not to levy fines on

cit­i­zens. Shop own­ers, who have been pe­nalised and feel tar­geted, have com­plained that the BMC’S ac­tion is dis­crim­i­na­tory to­wards them.

Ac­cord­ing to them, while they were fined for pos­sess­ing plas­tic, hawk­ers on the street face no

ac­tion from the in­spec­tors de­spite bla­tantly vi­o­lat­ing the ban and openly us­ing plas­tic bags.

Ra­jku­mar Sharma, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and AGNI (NGO) co­or­di­na­tor, said, “The prob­lem with the au­thor­i­ties is that they are

not able to come up with a prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion. They have changed their de­ci­sions mul­ti­ple times in re­la­tion to the items to be cov­ered un­der the ban. This has cre­ated more con­fu­sion lead­ing to the fail­ure of the ban.”

Sharma also said au­thor­i­ties HERE’S HOW YOU CAN GET RID OF YOUR PLAS­TIC

Call the new helpline: The BMC started a helpline num­ber 1800222357 which you can use to get plas­tic waste col­lected at your doorstep. You must dis­card at least 10 kg of plas­tic to avail of this ser­vice. Around 24 garbage trucks will pick up the plas­tic from across the city Watch out for plas­tic crush­ing ma­chines: The BMC has also pro­posed to in­stall plas­tic crush­ing ma­chines at

100 spots across the city to en­sure the ban is im­ple­mented. One such ma­chine can crush more than 50,000 bot­tles a day

Drop it off at the near­est bin: The BMC has placed bins across the city with stick­ers for peo­ple to drop off their plas­tic there. With a ca­pac­ity of 500kg, th­ese bins are placed at Co­laba Cause­way, Craw­ford mu­nic­i­pal mar­ket, Cowas­jee Pa­tel tank, Chor Bazaar Dedh Galli, Ka­math­ipura, Zaveri Bazaar, Flora Foun­tain, Kala Ghoda, Gate­way of In­dia, Gir­gaum Chow­patty, Man­gal­das mar­ket, Kal­badevi, Fash­ion Street, Dadar flower mar­ket, Hind­mata mar­ket LBS mar­ket, Matunga, KNP mar­ket, Dadar West, Link­ing road, Ban­dra Lokhand­wala mar­ket, Juhu Chow­patty, Sainath mar­ket, Malad Borivli mu­nic­i­pal mar­ket, Chem­bur mar­ket, Ghatkopar mar­ket, Sion Cir­cle, Mu­lund mar­ket

con­cerned with con­trol­ling plas­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing units have also failed mis­er­ably.

“Sev­eral units within Ma­ha­rash­tra con­tinue to func­tion and sup­ply more plas­tic across the state, let alone sup­ply from neigh­bour­ing states.”

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