Com­plete ban the only way out?

Ex­perts ad­vo­cate im­ple­men­ta­tion of dras­tic mea­sures such as pos­ses­sion of plas­tic be­ing de­clared an of­fence

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT FOR NAVI MUMBAI - San­jana Bhalerao san­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

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.”

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