Plastic bags have made a comeback

Officials admit enforcement of ban has slackened over the months

After much hype of a change in the way the city handles its garbage, it is becoming clear that plastic bags are creeping back into our markets.

In the hustle and bustle of the narrow bylanes of Shivajinagar, the plastic carry bag is ubiquitous. Mohammad Ismail, who sells popcorn for Rs. 10 in plastic bags, said there was no hindrance in getting carry bags. “How can I sell these in paper? Plastic is the best option and it is easy to procure plastic carry bags,” he said. With each bag costing barely 50 paise, plastic remains the cheapest option for him.

Plastic carry bags have once again flooded K.R. Market, which is one of the largest vegetable and flower markets in the city.

“Plastic bags of the lowest quality, ones that cannot be recycled, are everywhere. Initially, there were a few raids, but now plastic carry bags are back again. We have been requesting fresh raids and seizures, as it is the only way to curtail plastic,” said G.M. Diwakar, president of the K.R. Market Traders’ Welfare Association.

Plastic manufacturers said supply stems from the unabated demand from consumers.

“Peoples’ movement against plastic has reduced. When people start to refuse plastic, only then will the product disappears,” said Suresh Sagar, honorary secretary of the Karnataka State Plastic Association (KSPA).

Since May, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has seized more than 22 tonnes of plastics — a majority within the first month of the ban imposed in March 2016 — and levied fines amounting to over Rs. 60 lakh. But, officials admitted that enforcement measures had slackened over the months.

N.S. Ramakanth, solid waste management expert, said, “The ban is failing only because of officials. The BBMP treats it like a part-time job.” Ramachandra, Secretary, Environment, Forests and Ecology, said a meeting of the steering committee, which oversees the ban, would be called shortly to collect information on raids and seizures by municipalities.

Lakshman, Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, said they would take up the matter with the BBMP to ensure that enforcement and crackdown on wholesale traders of plastic continues.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 12:49:21 PM |

Next Story