Use of banned plastic carry bags still continues unabated

Plastic bags at a flower vendor’s shop in Tiruchi on Monday.  

Despite the ban on single-use plastics, sale and use of carry bags and non-woven plastic bags has resurfaced on a largescale in Tiruchi.

The ban, imposed under provisions of the Environment Act (Protection) Act, 1986, disallows manufacture, storage, marketing and use of plastic products, except as packing material for milk, curd, oil and medical products. No trader is authorised to sell them in markets.

Similarly, no shopkeeper or restaurant should use plastic carry bags for packing grocery or food items.

Though most of the well-established chain stores and textile showrooms have switched over to cloth or paper bags, the ban on plastics seems to have had little impact with restaurants, roadside eateries, vegetable markets and meat stalls. Rampant use of use and throw plastic product is apparent at roadside eateries.

Except for a few restaurants, most of the eateries pack food items and others in plastic covers. The eateries also pack hot beverages in plastic packets. There were days when eateries packed food items only after the customers made orders. But, most of the eateries now pack sambar, rice and vegetables soon after they prepare the food items so as to avoid having customers waiting in restaurants for parcel.

Many of them complete the task of preparing food items for lunch by 11 a.m. itself. They then devote time to packing items in carry bags.

They do not seem to bother about the ill effects of packing hot sambar and other items in thin carry bags and to be sold to customers.

Plastic usage is still rampant at meat stalls, vegetable markets, tea stalls and grocery stores too.

“We know well that carry bags can not be used for packing items. When we ask our customers to bring cloth bags or alternatives for parcel, they go to other shops, where they use carry bags. It is definitely impacting the volume of business,” says D. Mukesh Kumar, a tea stall owner at Kumaran Nagar.

Traders and eatery owners say that plastic covers are available for a meagre at ₹150 to ₹160 a kg. It is ₹250 a kg for silver foil packets. Since the cost of plastic covers is cheaper than silver foil packets, traders invariably choose plastic covers.

A small-time eatery owner on Vayalur road said big restaurants had switched to cloth bags, for which they included the charge in the bill. But, it was small time traders and road side eateries, who were affected a lot. Since the business had shrunk to a great extent after the ban, they had again switched over to plastic carry bags.

A senior official of the Corporation said surprise raids were being conducted at regular intervals and it had brought down the use of single use plastics in the city. The frequency of raids would be increased, official assured.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 5:33:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/use-of-banned-plastic-carry-bags-still-continues-unabated/article29264162.ece

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