Customers to be charged extra for demanding plastic carry bags; fine to be levied on retailers using polythene bags less than 40 microns
Cracking the whip on the use of polythene bags below 40 microns, the civic body has issued orders asking all shops providing these bags to charge customers Re 1 per bag from April 1.
Also, it has said that a fine of Rs 5,000, Rs 3000 and Rs 1,000 will be levied on manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers respectively, for failing to comply with permitted quality levels.
Don't bag it: The BBMP has seized over 300 kg of plastic bags in the last
10 day from shops across the city. Representation pic
"Till the end of today, BBMP officials from all six zones will check whether shopkeepers are using the appropriate bags. However, from April 1 onwards, fines will be levied on shopkeepers if they err," said Devaki Umesh, BBMP health officer (West Zone).
She added that in the last 10 days more than 3,351 shops, including large supermarkets, have been inspected and more than 300 kilograms of banned plastic bags have been seized.
A S Sadashivaiah, chairman of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), informed that on February 5, the Ministry of Environment issued a directive banning plastic bags below 40 microns. However, KSPCB decided to implement the ban from March 15, giving shopkeepers and manufacturers time to adjust to the ban and plan accordingly.
Plastic bags provided by shops should be above 40 microns and must carry the name of manufacturer, date of manufacture and certification by the KSPCB and BBMP. Also, from April 1, units manufacturing plastic bags above 40 microns will be sealed.
"We want to solve the problem at the root. So till March 31, we are distributing pamphlets at shops and residential areas to create awareness on the importance of the ban, its utility and consequences of violation," said a BBMP official from the South Zone.
However, whether charging customers Rs 1 per bag will dissuade citizens or not, remains the burning question. "Plastic should be totally banned. The ones passed by BBMP are above 40 microns and will take longer to degrade. In a city like Bangalore, people don't care about paying Rs 1 for a plastic bag," said Nevina Kamath, green activist.
What can you do
>> Carry your own cloth bag
>> Check whether bags given by shops are permitted by the civic body. If not, inform the BBMP