Less than a year after the GHMC prohibited the use of below 40 micron plastic bags, the ban seems to have gone for a toss
The ugly old plastic carry-bags are back in circulation. Be it fruit sellers or vegetable vendors, everyone these days is packing their wares in wafer-thin plastic bags. Less than a year after the GHMC prohibited the use of below 40 micron plastic bags, the ban seems to have gone for a toss. There is definitely a slowdown in implementation and taking advantage of this, traders have reverted to the slim plastic bags. The corporation banned plastic bags up to 40 microns from July 1 last year to phase out non biodegradable and environmentally harmful plastic material.
Initially, the ban was enforced strictly with the result that even small retailers and push-cart vendors adhered to the specified thickness of bags. But over the last few months there is total slackness in implementation of the rule resulting in the thin bags making a comeback.
“A kilogram of plastic bags of 40 microns costs Rs. 250, while the ordinary ones come for just Rs. 100 and also they are double in number,” says a milk vendor at Nampally market.
Many traders are under the impression that the GHMC has done away with the ban. “For the last four months nobody has checked what kind of plastic bags we are using,” says Aijaz, a kirana merchant at Bazar Guard.
Soon after the ban was announced, the GHMC levied hefty penalties on traders for not sticking to the specified thickness of plastic carry-bags. Even small vendors were penalised Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000. But now there is no such penal action. This has only given credence to the impression that the rule is no longer in vogue.
Mayor Majid Husain too is upset about the poor implementation of the plastic ban. “We will take up a drive again and make surprise raids and see that everyone follows the rules,” he said. The slackness in implementation coupled with the high price of plastic bags of over 40 microns has sounded the death knell of an environmentally-friendly policy decision. However, this is not the case with big shopping malls and stores. Here customers are given high quality plastic bags. Even in Nehru Zoological Park the implementation of plastic ban is much better.