BMC walks the plastic talk, will step up action against vendors
300 civic inspectors to eye rly stations, markets; target onetime use plastic items
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.”