BMC's ban on bags backfires

While it may appear that the BMC’s anti-plastic drive has been implemented successfully, insiders claim otherwise. While thousands of plastic bags have been seized at the doors of various BMC premises in the city, the civic authority is now facing a new challenge of stowing away all the confiscated bags. On Wednesday, new orders were issued to the security department of the BMC, not to seize bags, but to deny entry to visitors with plastic bags on their person.

New challenge: Visitors surrendering plastic bags before being allowed entry into a BMC office. Officials of the Solid Waste Department are finding it difficult to store the confiscated bags. File pic

In the last two days, the security department has seized over 4,000 carry bags from various locations, including the BMC headquarters, and has stowed them away in local ward godowns. However, sources from the solid waste management (SWM) department said that since they do not have any method to destroy the bags, there is the problem of stocking the large number of bags seized daily. “It would be better if citizens themselves are responsible for the bags they carry,” said an official from SWM.

“Why should we take custody of plastic bags? Let people decide not to carry the bags if they wish to enter. We have instructed security guards not to seize carry bags from people, but to deny them entry into BMC premises,” said Rajendra Bhosale, deputy municipal commissioner.

The BMC initiated the anti-plastic drive on July 1, and banned carry bags in all of its 24 ward offices, headquarters, hospitals and markets. Plastic carry bags were one of the key reasons for the 26 July deluge. Since Monday, security guards have restricted around 4,600 citizens from entering BMC premises. Apart from this, the civic license department had set up a special squad to raid stocks of thin (below 50 micron) carry bags. In the last 15 days, during the drive against thin carry bags, the squad has seized about 1,900 kgs of illegal stocks of plastic bags and has collected Rs 8.5 lakh as fines from 1,847 people.

According to BMC statistics, the city generates about 8,000 tonnes of garbage everyday, of which 15 per cent consists of plastic waste. Rag pickers pick up about 12 per cent plastic waste and only three per cent reaches dumping grounds.

No entry
Number of visitors with plastic bags who were denied entry into ward offices
July 2: 1,700
July 3: 1,500
July 4: 1,400 

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