Mumbai plastic ban: Stop fining us for recyclable plastic, fume hotel body
Asks government to educate on-field officials about the same, even as civic body claims its men have been fining only for single-use items
After announcing "complete support" for the plastic ban, the hotel industry, it seems, is still bleeding from it, now, in more ways than one. After claiming that the ban has led to a 20 per cent drop in business, the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) has alleged that civic officials have been fining its members even for reusable and recyclable plastic containers.
It said it had been supporting the ban by not using carry bags, but bringing recyclable and reusable containers under the purview has put it in a problematic situation as there are no viable alternatives available in the market. In a circular AHAR issued to its members, the association has urged them to protest against fines for recyclable plastic, and even asked them to videotape being fined. The circular adds that members should refuse to pay the fine, challenge it and insist that the civic officials concerned mention the words 'reusable and recycled containers' in the Inspection Report.
It added that the ban has also led to a rise in the cost of takeaways, which will be passed on to the consumer. Nearly 8,000 restaurants in the city will have to replace their plastic containers with others, which will add to the cost.
AHAR president Santosh Shetty said, "We have completely supported the plastic ban and have stopped carry bags or plastic packets for parcel. However, for takeaways, there are two kinds of containers — one with the thin material with nothing written on the back, which is for a single use, and the other is thick with 'reusable' or 'recycled' written on it. Our members have been harassed for using the latter. We request the government to educate and inform the officials on field before fining them. These containers are not only used at home, but also hold a good scrap value, as they are recyclable and used for making chairs, etc."
Explaining the rise in cost of takeaways, he added that the new containers cost more than the single-use ones, and that the total bill will rise depending on the number of containers a particular order requires. "For example, a simple idli-sambar will require three containers, and hence, cost will rise by R15, R5 per container. There is a possibility that customers can be provided with a buyback option, under which they will get money back for bringing in the reusable containers," Shetty said.
The civic body, however, claimed that its officials have only been fining for possession of single-use plastic items, as the state government is likely to exempt other packaging material from the ban.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Nidhi Choudhari said, "We are waiting for clarity from the government over several packaging materials; we will take further action accordingly."
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