Despite frequent raids helping to curb production and sale of plastic bags, deputy civic chief says it's impossible to control the inflow from neighbouring areas

In a bid to curb the usage of plastic bags less than 50-microns thick, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) authorities have raided over 50 factories and shops in the area in the last four months. However, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in Navi Mumbai has stated that despite the crackdown, it cannot control the inflow of banned plastic bags into the market, as the stock is being imported from neighbouring areas.

Oodles: Officials of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation have seized over
3,000 kg of plastic bags in the last four months. Representation pic

'Can't do much'
Suresh Patil, deputy municipal commissioner, NMMC, said, "We have raided several factories and shops in Navi Mumbai to curb circulation of plastic bags that are less than 50 microns in thickness. In the last four months, we have seized over 3,000 kg of these bags. However, the major chunk of it was not manufactured in Navi Mumbai. During investigations we discovered that thin plastic bags are being sourced from small factories located in Bhiwandi, Govandi, Mulund and Mumbra. By paying regular visits to the factories in our respective jurisdictions, we have ensured that no plastic bag below 50 micron is manufactured in Navi Mumbai. Unfortunately, we cannot do much about those bags that are produced outside."

Neighbours to blame?
Commenting on the issue, V B Kshirsagar, deputy regional officer, MPCB, Navi Mumbai, said, "Despite raiding factories in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area, we didn't find any manufacturer who is producing bags less than 50-microns thick. All these banned plastic items that we see in Navi Mumbai come from neighbouring areas."

Discussions on NMMC has been holding discussions with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) for curbing the production of bags less than 50 microns in their respective jurisdictions. "We have asked BMC and TMC to initiate strict action against offenders, so that the distribution of banned plastic bags is controlled," said Patil.

He added, "Currently, offenders are levied a fine of just Rs 5,000 for producing or possessing banned plastic items. We have written to the state government asking it to reconsider the amount, as the present sum is inefficient to dissuade lawbreakers."

Rs 5,000
Fine levied on offenders for producing or possessing banned plastic items