BMC facing flak for allowing sale of water balloons

HoliWith the festival of colours round the corner, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is urging people to be responsible and use minimal water keeping in mind the drought-like situation in the state.

Meanwhile, the sale of sample plastic bags thin small plastic pouches often used by revellers as water balloons during Holi is already speeding up across the city. While the civic body has banned plastic bags below 50 microns, to stop the sale of these water balloons, as, according to civic officials, that does not fall under the BMC’s purview.

The littered plastic balloons strewn on the streets after the festival is a pain for the BMC. Interestingly, BMC’s Storm Water Drains (SWD) department is the worst hit, because the plastic clogs the drains in the city. Despite repeated complaints by many citizens and requests to ban water balloons, the BMC officials feel they cannot take action against the use of sample plastic bags.

While the civic body has banned plastic bags below 50 microns, no action has been taken regarding the sale of thin small plastic pouches used as water balloons during Holi. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Rajendra Bhosale, deputy municipal commissioner (Special) and in-charge of banning of plastic carry bags, said, “The law does not give us the power to take action against use of sample plastic bags sold during Holi. We are allowed to ban only plastic carry bags.”

The corporation is already facing flak for not taking any concrete steps to curb water wastage that is synonymous with the festival of colours. Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Water Supply) R B Bamble, said, “We intend to request citizens not to waste water during the festival. Curbing water wastage would also mean that there will be no shortage if the rainfall is delayed.”

Regarding the clogging of drains due to plastic water balloons, Chief Engineer (SWD) L S Vhatkar, said, “It becomes difficult when plastic clogs drains. The administration is doing all it can to curb plastic but it continues to be a nuisance during festivals like these. The citizens should play an eco-friendly Holi using minimal plastic packets and water.” Anandini Thakoor, chairman of the H-West federation, said, “Holi is a festival of colours and not an occasion to waste water. I will try to be a good citizen and play an eco-friendly Holi this year.”  

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