Mumbai plastic ban: All you need to know about it!

Jul 03, 2018, 17:54 IST | Sunny Rodricks

Although the citizens of Mumbai have welcomed the ban with open hearts it remains to be seen how the BMC plans to recycle and reuse the plastics they have collected

Mumbai plastic ban: All you need to know about it!

Every year 3 July is celebrated as International Plastic Bag Free Day. In order to limit the amount of single-use plastic bags across the globe, some countries are opting for bans, taxation or different forms of voluntary agreements. Italy, Rwanda and Bangladesh are a few countries that have successfully banned single-use plastic. While the benefits of plastic are innumerable as the material is cheap, lightweight and easy to make. It takes about 100 to 500 years for a single plastic bag to disintegrate.

This year on the occasion of World Environment Day, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Eric Solheim, head of UN Environment, released the first-ever "state of plastics" report on 5th June in New Delhi.

According to a report, titled Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability, “Only 9 per cent of all plastics ever produced have been recycled, while 12 per cent have been incinerated and a full 79 per cent has ended up in landfills, dumps, or the environment.”

A local resident carries home plastic bags full of vegetables in Mumbai
A local resident carries home plastic bags full of vegetables in Mumbai. Pic/ AFP

Following the footsteps of the UN Environment's theme of 'Beat Plastic Pollution' this year; the Maharashtra government became the 18th state in India to ban plastic and almost all single-use plastic products on 23 June, 2018. While many welcomed the move taken by the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government; it sent many in a tizzy with the plastic industry estimating a loss of over Rs 15,000 crore and thereby leaving 3 lakh people jobless overnight. Let's take a look at the course of the plastic ban since its inception and how you to can do your bit to make Maharashtra a plastic-free state:
TIMELINE

Mumbai plastic ban

According to the UN report, “Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally, and much of it is thrown away within just a few minutes of its first use.” If you're still wondering why banning single-use plastic is then the BMCs Solid Waste Management answers your query in its Twitter post.

June 23rd marked an important day in the history of Maharashtra state as the plastic ban decision was welcomed by people from all walks of life.

Amidst the mixed reactions to the ban; many multinational companies and traders have now approached the state's government urging them to implement the ban in phases and relax some of the norms. Last week on June 27th the Maharashtra state government backtracked on its decision and relaxed the ban on retail packaging at kirana stores thereby bringing about a much sought after relief to many small-time retailers across the state. With the lack of clarification over the buyback system and uncertainty, it seems there are a few hurdles for the successful implementation of the ban across the state.

While there is a tendency of violators trying to bribe the officials in order to get away from paying hefty fines there is also uproar from the plastic industry as the industry stares a loss of over Rs, 15, 000 crore with the ban leaving almost 3 lakh people jobless overnight.

#PLASTICNOTFANTASTIC INFOGRAPHIC

Plastic ban infographic

As of today, the BMC has collected more than Rs 1.3 million in penalties so far in Mumbai alone. Although the citizens have welcomed the ban with open hearts it is to be seen as to how the BMC plans to recycle and reuse the plastics collected from vendors, manufacturers and alike.

If you're still unsure of what to do with the plastics at your home or office than its best that you dispose of all the remaining plastics and seek alternatives ASAP. Also, its best advised that you don't attempt to bribe the official and also inform your friends and relatives from other states about plastic being banned in Maharashtra before the BMCs blue squad catch them red-handed and penalize them.

Also read: Mumbai plastic ban: Stop fining us for recyclable plastic, fume hotel body

In late December 2016, Mumbai based lawyer and environmentalist Afroz Shah along with his band of volunteers put in 85 weeks of hard work and sheer determination and had cleaned the Versova beach. The good Samaritans had managed to clear a total of five million kg of garbage from the beach. The efforts of the citizen-led initiative paid dividends as Olive Ridley turtles embraced the Versova beach after 20 long years. The Versova beach clean-up campaign is a great example of how citizens too can contribute to not only conserve marine life but also make the city and state plastic free.

Its time you to #SayNoToPlastic and switch to alternatives that are eco-friendly and environmentally safe!

Plastic ban infographic

Also read: Mumbai plastic ban: Why are Railways allowed plastic covers and not us, ask traders

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