Complete ban the only way out?
Experts advocate implementation of drastic measures such as possession of plastic being declared an offence
WITH RISING HEALTH HAZARDS AND DAMAGE TO THE ECO-SYSTEM, PLASTIC WASTE IS PROVING TO BE A GROWING DISASTER. IN THIS SERIES, HT ANALYSES THE GRAVITY OF THE PROBLEM AND LOOKS AT STEPS NEEDED TO TACKLE THE MENACE
NAVI MUMBAI: With raids and campaigns failing to curb the use of plastic bags in the city, activists are of the opinion that the way out is to impose a complete ban on the use of plastic.
Although Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) conducts drives every three months to deter usage of plastic below 50 microns, it has hardly made a difference with roadside hawkers and vendors continuing to use them.
“A drastic decision by authorities such as a complete ban on use of plastic is essential. Only curbing the use of plastic below 50 microns will hardly help resolve the issue,” said Stalin D, an environmentalist with nongovernmental organisation Vanashakti.
“Since shopping malls started charging for plastic bags, many people have started to opt for cloth bags. However, there I still no check on local vendors such as vegetable sellers who continue to use low quality plastic bags that are often seen clogging drains,” said Nidhi Joshi, a Turbhe resident.
Many were also of the opinion that the only way to reduce usage was to make possession of plastic an offence. Citizens should be fined for possessing plastic bags, automatically usage will go down. Then sale and manufacturing of plastic should be made an offence,” said Stalin.
Civic officials and activists said it was important that citizens shared equal responsibility in the disposal of plastic.
“Every household must segregate wet and dry waste. Waste should be segregated at source itself,” said Vrushali Mugdam, Stree Mukti Sanghatana, a nongovernmental organisation that works with rag pickers.
Stalin also cited the example of Australia, where waste is not collected from households that do not segregate wet and dry waste. “The NMMC should also refrain from collecting waste from household who do not separate waste,” he said.
Realising the importance of eliminating the use of plastic, students from city colleges have taken it upon them to create awareness about it. A case in point is Sterling College where students distributed 15,000 paper bags at Vashi and Nerul station last week. “About 100 students from Class 11 made these paper bags during spare time in college. We are planning to take the initiative forward during the vacations as well. Our aim is to make Nerul plastic-free and promote green practices.”