Illegal plastic bags continue to inundate the city, thanks to a thriving business in the trade. These products, transported from other parts of the country, find their way into Chennai through a series of agencies.

On Tuesday, the Chennai Corporation and the Commercial Taxes Department seized 21 tonnes of plastic illegally transported into the city from Gujarat.

The civic body seized over five tonnes of the products, which were below the 40-micron thickness limit for plastic bags. The rest of illegal plastic products were taken by the Commercial Taxes Department.

Plastic bags that are less than 40 microns thick have been banned, as per the provisions of the Centre’s notification on Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.

According to Corporation officials, three agencies have been named in the police complaint that has been filed.

“Ramdev Plastics, Roshan Plastics and Rajasthani Plastics have been identified as the agencies involved in the trade. But no agency has claimed the products. We are still investigating,” said an official. “We suspect that the three agencies play a key role in transportation of illegal plastic bags in the city. We are unable to control the sale of these bags because of the high profit margins. Plastic bags below 40 microns are procured at Rs. 60 per kg in Gujarat and sold at Rs. 120 per kg in the city’s wholesale market. The bags are sold at Rs. 140 in the retail market,” the official added.

Erode and Puducherry are some of the other sources of illegal plastic bags for business entities in George Town.

Even though the civic body has seized over 38 tonnes of plastics in the past few weeks, the sale of these bags continues, due to the lack of proper legislation and rules pertaining to local administration in the city.

Officials stressed the need for better coordination between the police, commercial taxes department, pollution control board and the civic body to cope with challenges posed. Most of the bags sold with a seal claiming a 40 microns thickness are also fake products with lesser thickness, officials said.

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