Six years down the lane, single-use plastic ban not so effective in Bengaluru 

Despite Karnataka imposing a ban on plastic products in as early as 2016., they were still in use 2018.

Despite Karnataka imposing a ban on plastic products in as early as 2016., they were still in use 2018. | Photo Credit: file photo

The whole country might now cut down on its single-use plastic (SUP) products, but Karnataka was the first State to impose a ban on these products in as early as 2016.

Although the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) came up with enforcement plans, over the years, the movement floundered, especially in the last two years owing to COVID-19. 

The ban was somewhat effective at larger commercial establishments where the owners decided to switch to paper bags. But at the ground level, from milk parlours to neighbourhood vegetable vendors, nobody could cut down on the use of cheap and easily available plastic bags.

“Many customers come to buy fruits and vegetables on their way back from the office. Those people will not have any bags with them and will only ask for plastic covers as paper bags get torn when semi-wet produce is kept in it,” said Venkatesha, a vegetable and fruit shop seller in Yeshwanthpur. 

The plastic manufacturers eventually stopped producing SUP products, but a few factories in the interior industrial areas continued to produce them.

“How will we know when someone is in the unorganised sector produces these things. On top of that, there was an inflow from other States and even border districts. Especially during COVID-19, SUP came back unchecked. SUP was used for everything including wrapping dead bodies. Nobody said anything back then as time were such,” said Suresh Chandra Sagar, a plastic manufacturer and secretary at Machohalli Industrial Association. 

Those in the polymer industry still think that it will take a long time for the ban to be fully effective. “Plastic banners were banned long ago, yet we see cutouts in every street and main road. How is that possible?” questioned a plastic factory owner.  

BBMP officials say that they have been at enforcement for five years. A senior official mentioned that zonal teams visit commercial areas during the weekends and carry out drives. “We have constituted teams and they have been collecting information and penalising offenders while also creating awareness,” another senior official said.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 1:54:19 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/six-years-down-the-lane-single-use-plastic-ban-not-so-effective-in-bengaluru/article65590184.ece