Know the thickness of the plastic carry bag you may be given at a retail outlet or by a vendor to avoid being fined. According to the new Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 you are liable to being fined if you are caught red-handed with a carry bag that is less then 40 microns thick.

The idea behind insisting that the carry bags are thicker is that they should be more attractive to recyclers.

The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation which has launched an awareness blitzkrieg has given time to manufacturers, wholesale traders and retailers till August 15 to shift from using plastic carry bags of thickness 20 microns and above as per the earlier rules to carry bags of thickness 40 microns and above.

Municipal Commissioner G. Ravi Babu said that the municipal Corporation could fine manufactures caught making plastic carry bags of thickness below 40 microns between Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000 and had the power to fine trades and hoteliers between Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000. The Municipal Corporation can also fine individuals between Rs 250 and Rs 500 for violation of the same rule.

How does one know the thickness of the carry bags? The Municipal Corporation officials say that best way was to buy the carry bags only from manufactures that provided the information on packets. The carry bag users could also approach the Municipal Corporation for information and learn from its officials if a specific bag was thicker than 40 microns or not.

A.P. Pollution Control Board Environmental Engineer S. Venkateswarlu said that the public should use only those carry bags made by manufacturers who were registered with the board. All registered manufactures should print ‘without fail' the Board registration number on every carry bag.

The Municipal Corporation has given time to carry bag makers and users time till August 15 to ‘verify their stock'.