Our blue squads will create awareness, not just collect fines for plastic ban: Nidhi Choudhari
BMC deputy commissioner, Nidhi Choudhari in a candid interview answers the doubts pertaining to plastic ban in Mumbai
BMC deputy commissioner, Nidhi Choudhari, has been an active participant in the plastic ban cause. She has been campaigning for plastic-free Mumbai and solving issues of citizens who have questions related to plastic ban. Choudhari has not only been out on the field marshalling her troops to create awareness but has also been actively responding on social media platform Twitter for online queries.
We had the opportunity to interact with Nidhi Choudhari, BMC's deputy commissioner during an event organized by Radio City 91.1 FM in Mumbai.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview with Sunny Rodricks:
What are the Do's and Don'ts for the citizens across the state with regards to Plastic Ban?
The citizens should stop using all kinds of single-use plastic such as carry bags, thermocol cutlery, thyrofem cutlery and plastic spoon, forks, straws etc, and non-woven polypropene bag which looks like clothes but it is not clothes.
Can you elaborate a bit more about non-woven polypropene bags?
Actually, it is called Chinese jute because it is a replica of jute but made up of polypropene and it falls under the banned list. So please stop using that. Use of any kind of decorative items made of plastic and thermocol should also be omitted. If we all follow these important steps, we can help improve the environment.
• Stop using pet bottles; carry a glass bottle with you.
• Stop using any kind of plastic made bags; carry a container if you’re going to buy fish, chicken or mutton.
• If you are going to a restaurant for takeaway carry your own container.
Are there any options for door to door collection of banned plastics from every nook and corner of Mumbai?
We have 24 wards and all the wards have these facilities. There are 38 guidance and communication centres where the banned plastic can be deposited. And this information is available on social media, print media and we have also advertised about our collection centres.
Call our helpline number 180022357 to know about the nearest collection centre and deposit all the plastics that are there available in your home.
What are the cheap alternatives available for the packaging of food items for home delivery for restaurants?
For packaging food items just do away the disposable cutlery made of plastic and thermocol and start using the recyclable and reusable cutlery items that are already available in the market.
The Government has relaxed the Plastic Ban for Kirana (Retailers) for the next three months just after a week of imposing the ban. Your comments on the same?
The government has just extended the ban on the Kirana retailers and that’s has been done basically because the alternatives are not available right now. Introduction of a buyback system of plastics used at retail packaging level will be a good solution. It is a temporary relaxation of the ban; the government can certainly come out with some guidelines so that the details of the manufacturers of the retail level of packaging are also available and the manufacturer can be held responsible for its recycling and collection process.
You have been saying that "Fining isn't the objective; the objective is to bring change". What measures are taken by the BMC and its blue squad to bring about change?
Our blue squads are not meant only to collect fines, if you notice, the government had given us the license to collect fines after June 23 from citizens, shopkeepers and everybody for the plastic ban; however, we focused more on creating awareness. We have also facilitated the collection of banned plastics, which I mentioned before, where citizens can give us the banned items and we will collect it without fining them. Our intention is only to bring about a behavioural change among Mumbaikars and I am confident that the citizens will support us in this cause.
With a little bit of effort and cooperation from all, we can make Mumbai, a plastic-free city.
What does the BMC plan to do with the banned plastic items that they have collected?
It is going to be given to the recyclers which are registered with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).
How can citizens contribute towards making Mumbai plastic free?
We need to begin the initiative in our homes. Just bring that little change in your own life and we will certainly be able to contribute towards the well-being of our society, our city and finally the country also. This little bit of effort may cause inconvenience but will certainly go a long way towards contributing to better oceans, better beaches, and a better Mumbai. So please do it!
About the event
India's first and leading radio network Radio City 91.1FM launched the Kar Mumbaikar initiative a day before the Plastic Ban came into effect in across the state of Maharashtra. Radio City kick-started the initiative in order to give back to the society by creating awareness on the plastic ban across the city of Mumbai.
BMC deputy commissioner, Nidhi Choudhari with Radio City RJs Salil and Archana
As part of the Kar Mumbaikar campaign, Radio City will organize week-long activities across the city to raise awareness about Plastic Ban. Radio City will also distribute cloth bags to shopkeepers, fruit, vegetable flower vendors and fellow MumbaiKars.
In an evening full of entertainment, Radio City brought in Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam and the popular duo of RJ Salil and Archana for a live music concert to make citizens come together to pledge against the use of plastic. The event was also graced by the Nidhi Choudhari, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
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