For even a small purchase made, a low-grade plastic cover comes free. It has been three years since the ban on the use of plastic covers (less than 40 microns in thickness) came into force. Yet, these covers continue to be used freely.

Since the beginning of the financial year, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has seized about 65,510 kg of plastic covers, nearly 60 per cent more than what was seized last year. In 2013-14, the civic authority had seized around 38,990 kg of plastic covers.

This large-scale seizure in the first month of this fiscal indicates the continued rampant use of thin plastic covers in the city.

The manufacture and use of plastic that is less than 40 microns in thickness has been banned under the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules that came into effect in March 2011.

Despite this, the plastic menace is still not under control owing mainly due to lack of awareness among the general public and their continued preference for plastic covers. Taking advantage of this, the manufacturers, too, thrive by producing thin plastic covers.

Even though the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, which is responsible for issuing licences to manufacture plastic covers, has already shut down around 20 such units in the city, the menace continues.

While the board claims to be keeping a strict vigil on plastic manufacturers, wholesalers, who feed a good demand, manage to source thin covers from neighbouring states.

For a BBMP struggling with the disposal of solid waste, these thin plastic covers pose huge hurdles. For one, it is a pollutant and non bio-degradable. Reckless disposal by citizens also clog storm water drains, sometimes resulting in inundation of homes and roads.

Likewise, the approaching monsoon is also keeping the BBMP on tenterhooks. The only solution to this lies with citizens who can refrain from using them.

Towards this end, the BBMP and the KSPCB are planning to take up an awareness programme across the city.

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