The BMC seized only 381 kg of plastic till August 2014
Lovers of the environment can now rejoice. According to data made available by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the use of banned plastic by citizens has decreased in the last three years.
As per the data, the BMC seized only 381 kg of plastic till August 2014, for which they imposed a fine of Rs 23.34 lakh on users. However, in the year 2012 and 2013, the civic body seized more than 21,000 kg of plastic and levied a fine of Rs 1.10 crores.
The BMC claimed that people are more aware about the harm plastic polythene (which was one of the chief reasons for clogged drains and, later, the 2005 floods) poses on the environment.
Although there is a ban on the use of plastic that is less than 50 microns thick, most shopkeepers and vegetable sellers continue to use it.
The data also showed that the Shops and Establishment department cracked 639 cases from January to August this year, which involved the use of banned plastic. The department seized 381.67 kg of plastic and collected fines which amounted to a total of Rs 23.34 lakh from shopkeepers. “For the last two years, the use of banned plastic has decreased. Now, people are more aware and they carry their own cloth bag while shopping. Also, shopkeepers charge Rs 5 to Rs 15 for a plastic carry bag,” said an officer from the Shops and Establishment department.
“Under the Maharashtra Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2006, we fined shopkeepers for selling and using banned plastic. A first time offender is fined R5000. If he/she repeats the offence, then the fine can be doubled. This year, there were very few cases of shopkeepers selling selling plastic,” said Chief Inspector Arvind Gosavi, Shops and Establishment Department.