Karnataka

Plastic: From saviour of forests to the bane and the ban

From plastic carry bags, cutlery, banners, to wrapping films, several items are included in the ban. The medical sector gets an exemption from this rule.

From plastic carry bags, cutlery, banners, to wrapping films, several items are included in the ban. The medical sector gets an exemption from this rule. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Around 253 million plastic straws are being used in Bengaluru alone every year. But, beginning Friday, users and manufacturers of any kind of single-use plastic (SUP) items will have to cough up fines as the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), along with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will follow strict implementation of the nationwide ban on SUP announced by the Central Pollution Board.

From plastic carry bags, cutlery, banners, to wrapping films, several items are included in the ban. The medical sector gets an exemption from this rule. 

The implementation will take place under Rules 4(c), 4(d) of the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021 and if the banned items are used, then they will be seized and the production units will be closed with penalties. Retailers and street vendors selling these products will be fined ₹200 for the first time, and ₹500, ₹1,000 for the subsequent two offences. For manufactures, the first violation is fined at ₹2.,00, the second violation at ₹5,000 and the third violation at ₹10,000. Further, producers, as per Rule 4(c) of the rules, will be fined ₹5,000, ₹10,000, and ₹20,000 for the first, second, and third offences, respectively. 

“Plastic was introduced as an alternative to depleting forest resources in 1907, but subsequently, on realising its detrimental effects, the nation in 1999 introduced the Recycled Plastic Manufacture and Usage Rules in an effort to curb plastic pollution. Further, Karnataka was the first State in the nation to ban single-use plastic in 2016 with the Plastic Waste Management Rules,” said Shanth A. Thimmaiah, chairman, KSPCB, at a press conference on Thursday.  

Since the 2016 ban, 112 plastic units in the State have been issued Notice of Proposed Direction’s (NPD) for manufacture of the banned items. Another 35 units had committed violations under Section 5 of the Act and 104 units have been issued closure direction and 35 Units (around nine in Ballari and three in Mysuru) have had criminal cases filed against them. 

Despite these stringent measures by the board, the inflow of SUP from neighbouring States continued. Mr. Thimmaiah said that with the nationwide ban, this inflow can be nipped in the bud. He also suggested using compostable plastics as an alternative to SUP.  

To effectualise the ban, BBMP marshals, local organisations, and officers of the board are being trained to implement it. The KSPCB will also create awareness about the ban through hoardings and videos near bus-stands, radio station announcements, and programmes about plastic pollution and in school and college programmes. Waste collection officials and workers have also been briefed about the ban, the chairman said. 

The BBMP also said that their first stage of creating awareness has ended and from Friday, they will start penalising the offenders. “In every area, a team comprising marshals, health inspector, and assistant executive engineer will be tasked with the implementation of the ban,” said Parashuram Shinnalkar, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP. 

Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family, the brand ambassador for the State Pollution Control Board since June 5, 2022, will coordinate with the board and the BBMP to spread awareness throughout Karnataka against the use of plastic. Further, creation of awareness will be maximised through panchayats. Word will be spread through traditional media houses and social media too. 

Several items such as plastic carry bags, cutlery, banners, and wrapping films have been banned.

Several items such as plastic carry bags, cutlery, banners, and wrapping films have been banned. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Plastic already produced? 

Mr. Thimmaiah explained that the ban was notified 11 months ago for manufacturing units, producers, and vendors to find, substitute, and produce alternative packaging and products. Officials at the KSPCB assure that dry waste collection will continue to collect plastic waste.  

Industry representatives also said that as the ban has been in place in the State since 2016, they have had ample time to stop manufacturing SUP. “It is good that the implementation will now take place properly again as it was not carried out effectively during the COVID period. However, we have a few demands to the government, including permission to use plastic carry bags above 100 microns in the State and subsidies for recycling equipment to make the SUP - free plan more effective,” said Suresh N. Sagar, secretary, Karnataka State Polymers Association.  


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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 1:56:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/kspcb-bbmp-to-crack-down-on-single-use-plastic-as-nationwide-ban-takes-effect-today/article65586546.ece