Tells citizens erroneously that the minimum thickness permitted is 20 microns

Totally oblivious of new rules, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation has told citizens that the minimum thickness permitted for plastic carry bags is 20 microns, while as per the latest rules it is 40 microns.

The new Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, that stipulates 40 microns, came into being replacing the earlier Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999, in February.

The Environment Ministry had notified that plastic carry bags should be of a minimum thickness of 40 microns and that they should not be given free-of-cost to consumers.

Deadline

For reasons best known to the municipal officials, at an awareness meeting here on Tuesday they told restaurant owners, grocery shop owners, vendors, municipal school teachers and representatives of various NGOs in the city that plastic carry bags of less than 20 microns thickness would not be permitted.

The municipal officials announced at the meeting that time would be given till August 15 for ‘strict implementation of the ban'. Meanwhile, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) had appealed to its members to charge customers for plastic carry bags.

The M&M group chain clothes stores, that is taking several green initiatives like distributing saplings free to customers, has sent an SMS to all its customers informing them that according to government notification it would charge them for the plastic carry bags. It even encouraged them to ‘go green' by bringing their own bags. They had distributed saplings to all who had bought clothes above Rs.1,500 worth. The M&M group Managing Director M.A. Dinesh said that the RAI had asked all its members to charge for plastic carry bag more to promote awareness about the harm being done by the plastic carry bags than to recover the cost. He said that the customers of Vijayawada were very responsive to green initiatives.

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