Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is planning to impose a total ban on plastic bags in the metropolis and will soon propose to the State government to amend the law for the purpose.

“We will first issue notice of motion for a total ban on plastic bags in the city in the general body meeting of MCGM. We will propose to State Government to amend the existing law. Then it will be taken up with the Centre,” Mayor Shraddha Jadhav told reporters here.

“As amendment to the existing law will take time, the civic body till then will ensure that the existing ban on plastic bags below 50 microns is followed strictly,” Ms. Jadhav said.

MCGM will start this initiative on a pilot basis ward wise in the city, and will begin from Dadar in central Mumbai within two days.

The decision to the effect was taken on Saturday at a meeting of the Group Leaders of the corporation.

Plastic bags had aggravated the flooding on July 26, 2005 in the city which had prompted the state government to ban polythene bags below 50 micron thickness under a law.

MCGM will now promote use of paper and cloth bags as an environment-friendly alternative to plastic bags.

“We will also issue notices to malls and shopkeepers to ban plastic bags,” Ms. Jadhav said.

“We will start the ban on plastic bags below 50 microns from Dadar area within two days. We will first concentrate on one ward then move to other places like Sion, Matunga, Bandra, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Goregoan and then South Mumbai,” Ms. Jadhav said.

Two teams of 24 men will be deployed initially at Dadar to accomplish this mission, she said.

MCGM had seized 19,400 kg of plastic bags thinner than 50 microns and collected fine of Rs. 98 lakh between April 2008 and October 2009. Mumbai generates 8,000 tonne of garbage out of which plastic accounts for 4 per cent.

“The ban that was imposed earlier had failed to curb the use of plastic bags effectively. This time we will follow stringent action on the end-users by imposing heavy fines on them,” she said.

A complete ban on plastic bags already exists in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Kerala, Matheran in Maharashtra and Navu Nagar in Mumbai. Last month, even Pune civic body began its anti-plastic drive for a complete ban.