In a major step taken by the BMC in its fight against plastic bags, the civic body has decided to ban the entry of plastic bags on its premises. The person carrying a plastic bag would be shown the door. Officials of the civic body have decided to ban the entry of plastic carry bags in all 24 civic ward offices as well as its headquarters from Monday onwards.
“I will issue a circular on Saturday about not allowing plastic carry bags in any ward office,” said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner. Currently, there is a ban on plastic bags of less than 50 microns that came into effect after the 2005 deluge, as the material was considered one of the main reasons for choking up the city drains.
“This would be the first step towards discouraging people from using plastic bags. If people were aware that there is a ban on carrying plastic bags into the ward office, then they will not enter with such items,” Adtani said. The BMC has planned to form a squad and start a special drive against plastic carry bags of less than 50 microns. The drive will start on June 18 and go on till July 17. “The squad will comprise 10 inspectors from the shops and establishment department. These inspectors will conduct raids on at least 10 shops at a time to seize banned carry bags,” said Adtani.
Instructions have been sent to all ward offices to set up a surveillance squad, which will have four officers from various departments, including solid waste management, building and factory, maintenance and security departments. They will hold meetings in the ward area and bring about awareness among citizens regarding the ban on plastic carry bags and encourage the use of paper or cloth bags. Shopkeeper and manufacturers found with banned plastic bags will be slapped with a fine of Rs 5,000.
Repeat offenders will be fined Rs 10,000 and in case of repeat offences by retailers the fine would be Rs 25,000. A 100 per cent ban on plastic bags is in effect in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Kerala and hill stations like Matheran. “The decision for a 100 per cent ban can be taken by the state government. We have recommended that the state government only allow plastic bags that are bio-degradable,” Adtani said.
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.